This is a copy of my article for the FEBRUARY 2014 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’
Billericay is a great place to live and work! It’s location and accessibility, its schools and clubs, the High Street with its pubs, restaurants and independent shops adds to its unique character. One of the often underrated strengths of our town is the vibrancy of Churches Together in Billericay (CTB) who are committed to serving you from: coffee mornings to youth groups; weddings to funerals; mums/dads and tots; from Fun in the Park to Remembrance Sunday and much more besides. A recent survey found that 70% of all volunteers in the UK are church based – which is quite an amazing statistic. This month I want to highlight some of the ways in which CTB volunteers are serving our community and how Saint Mary’s in the High Street is becoming a hub for many of our activities:
Street Pastors: Many of you will have come across Street Pastors (SP) since they were launched in November 2013. Operating out of the ‘hub’ of Saint Mary’s, SP’s serve the night time community on Friday and Saturday evenings by supporting those who are vulnerable, ill or injured and, for those who may be a little ‘worse for wear’ provide water and flip flops and ensure they arrive home safely. You can call into see them any Friday or Saturday night or contact them on 07443601546, email Billericay@streetpastors.org.uk or Twitter @BillericaySP
Essex Savers Credit Union: The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken a lot about ‘pay day loan sharks’ and is actively encouraging communities to set up Credit Unions. One is coming to Billericay very soon thanks to CTB! If you would like to know more, call into Saint Mary’s any Saturday in February and March from 10am to 2pm. Current plans are to open a Credit Union service point at the Library one day a week. If you would like to get involved in serving our community in this way, or to find out more, please contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.essexsavers.co.uk
The Big Promise: Would you like the opportunity to renew your wedding vows? If so, might you be interested in doing so with other couples across the UK as part of an attempt to set a new world record? The current record is only 1,087! All you need to do is arrive at Saint Mary’s on Saturday 8th February at 4.30pm. Bring your marriage certificate and have your photo taken with your spouse. However, couples will need to register in advance and so, if you are interested, please contact Bruce Bott via email at email@example.com
Love Billericay: Has been a popular stall at Summerfest and the Christmas Market as a focal point of CTB. In partnership with Billericay Town Council, there is a Civic Service planned for 3.00pm on Sunday 16th March 2014 at Christ Church, Perry Street, when many organisations in Billericay will come together in a service of thanksgiving for all that is good about Billericay and we’d love to have you with us. For more details, please contact the Town Clerk via email TownClerk@billericaytowncouncil.gov.uk or give us a tweet @LoveBillericay.
These are only a few of the many ways in which Churches Together in Billericay are committed to serving and supporting you! Why not visit our website www.billericaychurchestogether.org or, better still, visit a church near you – I’m sure you’d be surprised (and blessed) at what we do!