Agencies have a ‘need for speed’

CHURCHES from across the borough took part in a unique event on Tuesday last week, when they came together to hear from local Christian agencies making a difference in the area.

The event, staged at the Lighthouse, was based on speed dating. After a simple sandwich lunch, 20 representatives from around a dozen churches heard one-minute snapshots from each of the agencies present, in rapid succession. Any agency who didn’t quite finish within their allotted time was halted mid-flow by a hooter.

IT’S GOOD TO TALK – representatives from 20 organisations exchange views and ideas
IT’S GOOD TO TALK – representatives from 20 organisations exchange views and ideas

Andrew Bates, who organised the event, said: “Most people were able to finish within their 60 second slot. It was a fun and effective way of conveying a lot of information and connecting people in a short space of time.”

The guests heard from existing and new agencies including: BESOM, who connect people who wish to give good quality secondhand white goods and furniture for those in need; Street Angels, who patrol the Woking town centre on Friday and Saturday nights; a relatively new initiative in the town called Foodwise, which teaches people how to cook nutritious meals on a tight budget; and Christians Against Poverty who help people get out of debt and who are shortly setting up a job club.

After the time-limited slots, representatives from the churches were able to talk further with the agencies, each of which had set up a stand around the ground floor of the Lighthouse. The event then finished with prayer for the work of the agencies.

Rev Alan Nelson, who attended the event on behalf of New Life Church in Old Woking, said: “It was great to hear about the many ways these agencies are expressing God’s love by serving the people of Woking and it was helpful to make connections with people.”

Master cake maker Michelle Kerslake created and donated cupcakes for the participants which perfectly captured the heart of the event. Each cake was decorated with icing in the shape of a jigsaw piece and had written on it the name of one of the churches or agencies present.

Andrew Bates concluded: “What I said at the event was that we are all part of the jigsaw and we need each other. The churches and agencies in Woking work together well already and my hope is that this event will build on the existing relationships.”

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