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Friday Friendship Centre

By Mike Baldwin

Friendship Centre is a community; centred on meeting on Fridays in our church hall for a low-priced, wholesome, cooked lunch. We aim to seek a relaxed environment where mainly, but not exclusively, older men and women can enjoy friendship and a sense of family, as well as have the opportunity for conversation about matters of faith, if they wish.

The Friendship Centre is served by a team of folk from Holland Road Baptist Church who have a heart for encouraging people, building relationships, and providing a friendly, safe environment in which to share experiences, challenges and good times with others. The team, all volunteers, includes some members who come early on Friday mornings to prepare food or set up the hall, and others whose main role is to welcome and mingle with our visitors.

Our visitors, currently numbering about 30-50, come from streets nearby on foot or by bus from across the city. Some have been coming for years, but there is also a steady inflow of new folk week by week. Visitors often belong to Holland Road or other churches in the city, but many have no particular faith commitment. Just a very short talk or testimony between main and dessert courses is the only formality, but opportunities are available for follow-up should that be what a visitor wishes.

As one visitor comments on social media: “No one in attendance should ever feel in isolation… it is clear that the time is not just aimed at church folk… the short talk is someone talking of the source of their faith or giving insight into a certain scripture… folk are sometimes given the opportunity to talk further but no one is compelled to do so… a highlight of the church putting its faith into practice.”

The main course is served between 11.45am and 12.15pm, and this is the best time for people to arrive; the short talk is from 12.30pm and after this desserts and tea/coffee are served. This two-course meal plus free drinks typically costs £3.30, and the church hall is open to all Friendship Centre visitors between 11.30am and 1.30pm.

Our Friendship Centre team continually welcomes those who can give time on a Friday to help with any aspect of preparation in the kitchen, mingling with visitors in the hall, or a mixture of both. Please do get in touch with Sean Avard, Maria Nwanwene, Pauline Lawrence, Mike Baldwin, Debbie Varney, or any member of our team you know if you feel you could help us, for however long or short an amount of time you can give.

Topics: Communities
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