Community Hub News

We took possession of our new community hub in January 2015.  We have lots of exciting ideas for it, but for now, we are simply focussing on getting our feet in the door.  We have also heard of a church that is getting rid of lots of furniture, much of which will be useful to us, so we have first refusal on it.

One of our biggest question marks is what to call the hub.  We have had various ideas in mind, but none of them has really gripped us.  Interestingly, it suddenly occurred to us that because taking possession of the hub is a clear fulfilment of one of the prophetic words we received some time back, that we should look more closely at that word, and see if a name emerges. Watch this space….

Here is a selection of photos taken at the hub.

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Open Meeting About New Community Cafe

ConnectingCrossgates is helping set up a community cafe in Crossgates. The aim is to help create a space for building community and reducing loneliness.  There is an open meeting about this venture at 7:30pm on Wednesday 2nd July 2014 at the Methodist Church. This meeting is for those who are interested in finding out more about this exciting new project and how to get involved.

Nick Castle director of the well established Cielo Coffee House in Garforth will be there to share the vision, explain how the church/individuals can get involved and answer questions.

Open to all.

Come and find out more!

Community Cafe Comes to Crossgates

ConnectingCrossgates is helping set up a community cafe in Crossgates.  The aim is to help create a space for building community and reducing loneliness. Nick Castle, director of the well established Cielo Coffee House in Garforth, has been exploring opportunities for opening another branch, and put Crossgates at the top of his list of preferred locations because of the proximity to Garforth and the work we do in ConnectingCrossgates.  The vision is that Cielo in Crossgates will be a self-sustaining, social enterprise project which creates a social hub for other a variety of local, community projects of the sort that ConnectingCrossgates advocates, initiates and encourages.

The very latest news is that Cielo have agreed a lease on a premises in the shopping centre, and so this project is forging ahead, with a view to opening in the autumn.

Hope In Crossgates

On Saturday, 22nd March 2014, we are organising three exciting events at various venues in Crossgates:

1. Crossgates Shopping Centre – With John Smeaton Academy 12-2pm

Storytelling and book signing by local author ,Hope In Crossgates Flier
competitions, crafts, face painting , displays from the Volunteer Readers
Project at John Smeaton Academy  and more.

 2. Fun day (Crossgates Methodist Church Hall – Austhorpe Road, opposite the Shopping Centre) –  12.30-2.00pm

Fun day with bouncy castles, coconut shy, giant games,
crafts, face painting, community cafe with free Starbucks Coffee etc

Our flier is available in PDF format here.

Report from Xpedition Xgates 23-25 July 2013

‘Everyone come follow me’, the Lord said,
‘over land, mountain and sea’, the Lord said.
‘Whether it’s sunshine or rain, or wind or storm!
For you’re my travelling wandering race;
you’re the People of God.’
(words from one of the songs we sang on our journey!)

The youth worker at Blessed John Henry Newman Parish, Hannah Zafar, asked how we saw the love of God in Xpedition Xgates, a local holiday club style project which contributed to the Leeds Catholic Diocese “Announce” mission.
We saw the love of God coming through the three young Catholic volunteers pic2and their two supporters. Without them, three churches in Cross Gates wouldn’t have come together to begin the journey and to host three afternoons of activities for Primary and pre-school aged children and their families during the first week of the school holidays. So the organisers of Xpedition Xgates (from St James Manston, Cross Gates Methodists and ChristChurch, Manston Gardens) are glad that these Catholic youth did decide to forgo the papal mass on the beach of Copacabanna, Rio, and came instead to bask in the sunshine of Cross Gates!

The Methodist Church used craft activities, games and celebration worship time along the model of “Messy Church”, all relating to “Bible Journeys by Road”.
St James Church of England Parish built on its “Teddy Praise” group and also had ‘fishy’ dramapic9 and craft activities (including a memorable big whale!), and sports on the field, based on the theme of “Bible Journeys by Sea”. Thursday children’s club activities as used at Christchurch, Manston Gardens, formed the basis for “Bible Journeys up a Mountain” and the story of Elijah at Mount Carmel – involving Pastor Grahame in full Elijah garb, alongside his flickering tissue paper fire!

Around 60 children plus family members journeyed with us over the three afternoons of activities, learning and enjoyment.

Xpedition Xgates was advertised by means of assemblies in four local primary schools, and by further publicity handed out to all our school children and in the Cross Gates Shopping Centre. Karen Gray, ConnectingCrossgates community worker co-ordinated the assemblies and received registrations. Those who attended the activities will be contacted about future activities and services gearedpic8 towards families with young children, and as leaders of the local churches ‘journeying together’ we plan to build on the links we have made as an ecumenical team with our local schools.
As one of the supporters of the Catholic young people said, ‘It showed how faith can be fun!’

So every day, we’re on our way, for we’re a travelling, wandering race,
we’re the People of God.

Rev’d Fran Rhys, Methodist Church & Rev’d Carolyn James, St James, Manston.

News from the JSCC Paired Reading Scheme

Every Tuesday, 50 children from across the age ranges who need some extra help, read to one of the JSCC’s 13 newly recruited volunteers .

At first many pupils appeared reluctant. They entered the library dragging their feet and staring at the floor. Conversation was stilted and attempts to avoid turning up were commonplace. Barely 3 months later, the atmosphere couldn’t be more different.

Students smile as they enter the library, laughing as the supervisor tries to get some of the names correct without prompting. The volunteers, some of whom are parents, others are retired people from local churches, are clearly starting to develop their own relationships. Stories are beginning to emerging of children wanting to chat, keen to share some information about their week before starting to read.

Each week the volunteers share experiences and ideas with one another, but on 14th May something special happened.

“I’ve just had a really good time with my last student” one of the parent volunteers beamed,

“She brought her own book for the very first time!”

This would have been significant in itself and it was clear that the volunteer was encouraged by this new development. However, she continued to share enthusiastically,

“She is also still reading with a teacher two or three times a week”

Another success to be celebrated! Several volunteers had started to ask how many of the children were still reading regularly outside the Tuesday sessions, so this was good to hear. However, the best was yet to come!

“The girl’s mum was so interested in what was going on, that she has started reading with her daughter too”

What a wonderful transformation in one child’s life.

Thanks to the willingness of the head teacher to work in partnership with the community, the determination of staff to get the scheme off the ground and the commitment of the volunteers, the project is already proving to be a real success with all involved.

We look forward to hearing many more stories like this in the weeks and months to come.