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East Surrey Service of Thanksgiving

In June, on one of the hottest days of the year, friends, staff, supporters, local councillors, and representatives from voluntary organisations gathered in the welcome coolness of St John the Evangelist Church in Redhill to give thanks for the work of Welcare in East Surrey.  We were delighted to be joined by The Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr Frank Kelly, and his Consort, Mrs. Ann Kelly.

The service provided the first opportunity since 2018 for supporters in East surrey to join together to hear about our work locally, enjoy each other’s company and meet our newly appointed Centre manager, Catharine Adjei. The theme of the service was based on the passage in St Matthew’s gospel Chapter 14 verses 22-33 about having courage, like St Peter to get out of the boat (or our comfortable place) and accept and make change.  This theme was illustrated through a moving interview with Family Support Worker, Diane Collins conducted by Susie Burnard (the very efficient organiser of the service) and this enabled us to reflect on the parallels with the journey of children and families who place their trust in our staff to confront and make difficult choices to bring about change in their family life and functioning.  A particular highlight was the contribution from Sandcross School Senior Choir who performed two popular songs ‘Count On Me’ and ‘Power in Me’.  In addition to their beautiful singing, energy, and exemplary behaviour it was wonderful to welcome them and some of their parents to the service.   We are especially grateful to the leader of the choir, Mrs. Willcock for accepting our invitation and bringing 50 children to church on a hot Friday morning.

During her homily, our Vice-chair, The Venerable Moira Astin, Archdeacon of Reigate invited the congregation to (anonymously) write their hopes and fears. We had many to choose from, but we have included a selection of these with this article as they are moving and thought-provoking.  These were blessed by Moira after the service and are displayed in our Redhill Centre.

Hopes and Fears:

  • I hope people in need get what they deserve and the love and support 
  • Thank you for everyone who helps other people. Please give all the teachers and parents and people who support children the power to reach out and help. 
  • My fear is fear itself. And feeling like I have none, like I am alone. My hopes are to live a happy life and have a bright future, and that Welcare keep doing the great things they are doing with families everywhere.
  • I hope that I get into the same form as my friends for school.
  • I hope I will be known as a good person and always be kind 
  • I am worried about going to secondary school and I am nervous and hopefully don’t get lost and make new friends.
  • I hope that I can be a role model for everyone that has ups and downs when people are finding it hard. 
  • I hope that as we emerge from the pandemic we find the power to build a kinder and fairer world, where people show love and respect to one another and care for each other. Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.  
  • Anxiety and disappointment about finding somewhere to live. Need to be resilient and patient and thankful for all I have.
  • I pray that God will hear our prayers for Ukraine. I hope that the world will love others with more care for others. I hope Christians keep their faith.
  • I hope and pray that organisations like Welcare continue and receive the funding they need to fill the enormous gaps created by underfunding by government 
  • Thank you for your continuing provision for Welcare in East Surrey. Bless Catharine and her team. Bless the families who are served by Welcare. As Welcare reach out to families in their time of need I pray knowledge of your love for them will be known and give them hope & peace.
  • For all those suffering in whatever way – please bring them specific comfort. For all that is joyful – please let this be shared and experienced where it is needed.
  • When I think too much I get stressed, worried and sad so living God please help.
  • I pray for a brighter future for all children both locally and abroad, that they may all have access to food, education and a happy homelife.
  • My 3 grandchildren and adopted family – still they suffer from the difficulties of their start in life – deprivation and abuse. Their parents are loving and work to help them grow to be the best people they can together. They need your power lord and your loving presence – may my prayer help that to happen. 

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