Open hands is new service for those needing help in Wakefield

Jesus says: "No one can snatch them out of my hand" was the theme for the first of a new type of service designed specifically for those more vulnerable or who might need a helping hand in the Wakefield area.

Every Monday evening from 7pm St Catherines Church Centre will open its doors to this new kind of Christian service - called Open Hands - which will be followed by a free meal and chance just to sit and chat.

The vicar, the Revd David Gerrard said he had been inspired by the success of the Saturday Gathering in Halifax which has seen over 100 new Christians come to faith since it opened five years ago, and just planted a second new church in its hometown of Halifax.

The Saturday Gathering, a fresh expressions of church, grew out of the Food Bank and Drop In Centre run by Christians Together in Calderdale from Ebenezer Methodist Church in the centre of town and it has become one of the fastest growing churches in Yorkshire. The volunteer ecumenical group started to offer prayers to those using the food bank, and they found people coming back wanting to know more about the God who was answering their prayers.  But with significantly different backgrounds and upbringings, and often chaotic lives, traditional church proved to be out of their reach, so the Saturday Gathering was born.

 St Catherines is Wakefield’s biggest food bank and gives out emergency food parcels five days a week as well as run a variety of community projects to help the lonely, the isolated and those with mental health issues.

Said the vicar, David: "St Catherine’s centre helps some of the most vulnerable people in and around Wakefield.  Many of these people struggle with homelessness, addictions, mental health issues and other problems that can be isolating.  For many of these people, traditional church is simply inaccessible.  So we wanted to start a new kind of service for the people we see everyday.  We pray that God will use Open Hands to help those who most need to know his love in our community.’

David met the Duke of York at St James’ Palace last May after St Catherine's Church Centre received a Community Initiative Award for its work. It also run courses to help people get back to work, a community choir, gardening club, job club, a day care service for the elderly and it is home to a daily nourishment cafe which is currently offering free dinners for those who may need it during these harsh winter months.

Open Hands will run every Monday at 7pm in St Catherine's Church Centre. Any volunteers interested in helping or donating food for the meal, please get in touch with David or Kathy or Centre Manager Lisa at St Catherines on 01924 211130 

There is a New Wine Pastoral Prayer Training Day run by vicar the Revd Linda Maslen, part of the team behind the Saturday Gathering, at St Catherine's on 17 February 9.15am -4.30pm. 

Contact: Revd David Gerrard

St Catherine’s Church Centre, Doncaster Road, Wakefield WF1 5HL

Tel: 01924 211130


For further information about New Wine Church Leaders’ Network contact or tel: 0845 437 8656.





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