"Bringing Christ to People and People to Christ"

Service Group Minutes 20th January 2020






Mike Gibbs, in the chair,

Peter Willard

Susan Willard

Major Ian F Payne

Jean Jones



Marilyn Watson, Mike and Muriel Rowley, Charlie Gouyet, Majors Peter and Estelle Clack, Penny Clay.



  1. 2. Introductions and Welcome

Future style of meetings was put forward by Mike.  Mention of duty of care to volunteers. How to acknowledge their value and recognise the needs of leaders. Maybe a time set aside for leaders to share experiences.  Further discussion later in the meeting.


  1. Devotions.

Mike shared scriptures special to him, in the absence of Marilyn. Romans 8, 36-38.

‘For I am convinced that …. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.’  So many people we meet and those we know have difficulties and illness but this assurance is so helpful.


  1. Minutes of the last meeting 23rd September 2019 .

Matters Arising:

  •  Life in Action.  New name for what was the LIFE project
  •  Homeless forum – no action needed.
  •  Hall cleaner appointed – Gina Castle.  Quartermaster now Trevor Grant.


  1. Christmas Parcels

An excellent service was provided this Christmas by Wendy and her team.  Wendy would like to encourage someone to work alongside her for the next couple of years to get to know the ropes.  She is happy to continue at present but for continuity she feels the need to share her ways of working.


  1. L.I.F.E in Action. (Tues Evening Drop-in) –Update. Security, Staffing and leadership.

Major Ian reported that the service continues to be provided by an excellent team of volunteers.  Special sessions have been held including HIV testing, sexual health, training for volunteers to recognise how to deal with drug users.

Excellent Christmas Day service.  Now there is a rota of people to cook. No issues of concern to report.


  1. Media Outreach Ministry. Update.  No change.  Now numbers dropped to six.


  1. Foodbank Report –  Update and concerns.

The main focus of Foodbank is ensuring clients are served to the best of the team’s ability with kindness, respect and Christian values.


The team are a fantastic group. they go the extra mile obtaining free fresh produce from supermarkets and sourcing new/used clothes for clients.


Stock replenishment from the central Foodbank warehouse is weekly.  Over the last 6 months volume has risen sharply as people’s needs have greatly increased. Foodbank client numbers across Medway are at an all time high and are expected to continue climbing.


The Christmas period was challenging due to high client numbers and the fact the Foodbank warehouse was closed. Our last stock delivery was 18th December with no further supplies until 8th January. Fortunately we had built up stocks on the lead up to Christmas and members of the congregation and general public were very generous.


Fran Gage


Mike said a much wider range of clients is coming due to people being moved around by local authorities.


  1. Mainly Music/Mummy and Me report for Service and Ministry group meeting 20th January 2020

Team members: Sue, Alma, Patti, Irene, Rae, Lesley, Val and Norma.


Both parent and toddler groups have continued to be well attended, and good relationships are being formed, enabling some deeper conversations to take place while the children are playing. We were delighted to see several non-church families attending the Community Carol Concert again, and a few families are attending Sunday meetings.


The autumn term ended in the usual way with pre-Christmas preparations and activities, culminating in the Mainly Music and Mummy and Me groups joining together for a Christmas party. We changed the format a little this year, inviting Tracy Wood in to tell the Nativity story through Godly Play, which was well received. The arrival of Santa (we are grateful to Nigel Day for his sterling service once more) was heralded by the singing of some Christmas songs, and each child received a present from him, carefully chosen by Irene and Patti. We then had party food, picnic style on the floor, before each child left with a Nativity story book and each parent with a small gift.


The new term has begun, and a few new families invited along to fill gaps. The team has met to plan a programme of activities and we have started looking ahead to Mothering Sunday and Easter, inviting Major Ian along to present some thoughts around Easter and strengthen the links with “church”.

As usual, I would like to thank all the team members who give of their time and energy each week, and the wider church family for their prayerful support and encouragement. I will soon be inviting the congregation to take prayer cards as they have done previously, ensuring that each member of our parent and toddler groups are prayed for regularly.


Sue Willard


Sue added that the Ten years’ anniversary for Mainly Music is to be celebrated this summer.


  1. One2One Employment Plus report.


Major Ian reported on behalf of Penny whose written report is as follows:


The client base remains stable at around 15, comprising mostly our same people with a few new ones being referred by the Job Centre and some as a result of the publicity cards now in circulation.  Four of our people are au fair with the computer and Job Search, so are able to work independently, the remainder needing varying amounts of help from the volunteer advisors.  The extra chrome pads are much needed.  We have six advisors whose commitment is invaluable.


PIP appeal applications have been prepared and sent off for three clients and we are awaiting notification as to their success. Help with budgeting is ongoing when needed, as is CV advice and preparation and any kind of form filling.

Regular visits by some of the Job Centre staff helps us and the clients tremendously and we hope it will continue but risk assessment is currently being undergone by the DWP.


The literacy classes provided by Heather and Lynn are ongoing and provide sterling help.  Currently Lynn has one client with Heather offering alternate weeks for six.  The success of these lessons are seen in growing literacy skills and an increase in confidence for the clients, some making quantum leaps for them.


Two people gained temporary Christmas work with the Post Office and Amazon. Full time employment has been found by two others and one guy obtained two part time jobs. Others a have been gaining interviews which is encouraging for them.

A local workshop which recycled unwanted tools including sewing machines has been liaising with Marilyn and we are hopeful that some work experience will be as a result as several of the guys are very interested.


Great effort takes place at ‘Life in Action’ to encourage some of the guests to also come along for help with job seeking but few have actually committed but we keep trying as this would help with lifestyle changes, as it has with our regular clients.


Encouraging for the volunteers is the happy atmosphere and all clients saying they feel comfortable and supported when attending and among friends.


We commence each session with prayer, placing our trust in the Lord and encouraging the clients to do the same.  One client continues to attend on Sundays very regularly, others saying they will ‘one day’ for which we give thanks to the Lord.

Penny Clay.


  1. Health and safety issues.

Audit to take place on Feb 4/5.  No obvious health and safety issues.


  1. Structure of future Service Group meetings.

Lack of attendance is of concern.  The point of the meeting is to receive feedback from group leaders and address any issues arising. The thinking now is that leaders of groups could meet, say, three times a year to share feedback and good stories.  Major Ian and Mike to meet to discuss the development and style of a Service Group Fellowship. The leaders Mike has spoken with are very happy with this idea as a replacement for the Service Committee.  No additional evening meetings are envisaged – maybe lunch and chat once a quarter on a Monday afternoon.


  1. Closing Prayers – Major Ian closed in prayer.