MISSION FOCUS – EDEN WALSALL
Our support for communities in the UK is not simply confined to Tonbridge. Eden is a project of The Message Trust, a worldwide movement ‘passionately sharing the love of Jesus Christ in words and actions with the hardest-to-reach young people and communities’. The purpose of Eden is to put teams into some of the most deprived areas around the country to walk with and support the local community.
In 2017 Gav and Jem Hicks (former Youth & Children’s worker of St Stephen’s) followed their calling and set up Eden Walsall, partnering with a local Church, St Peter’s. Along with their two young sons, they quite literally ‘do life’ with their neighbours, sharing the good news of Jesus in word and deed, creating a deep sense of community. St Stephen’s supports them in their work
Mission Focus – Eden,Walsall
Eden Walsall’s strategy since starting their work in the community was to gather people together and almost always with food. Here’s Gav with one of his early updates, having just arrived in the area.
Unfortunately with the onset of the pandemic and the restrictions put in place by Covid, the team have had to totally rethink their ministry and their approach to the families they work with.
Gav and Jem were determined not to lose contact with those they had been reaching out to, so they started delivering weekly activity kits during lockdown to provide families with a positive activity to do together at home. The packs always included a Bible story, some creative prayer activities, craft, games, some fruit, sweets and other things. The families were given a folder to build up a library of bible stories and the craft ideas so they could keep coming back to them throughout lockdown. These were really well received and a great excuse to check in with local families regularly.
Eden Walsall have also partnered with their local school, Croft Street Academy, who were managing a food parcel service. The families known to Eden Walsall could collect food parcels from the school and Eden Walsall would provide some craft and game activities for all the parcels the school distributed. A way of teaming up to provide something extra for all concerned.
How we support Eden Walsall
There are three ways we support Eden Walsall; in Gav’s words its “prayer, pounds and people”:
- Many dedicated prayer champions who pray for the work the team are doing and for specific events as and when they happen.
- Financial support means Eden Walsall can continue doing this important work.
- And we’re hoping that some members of the church family will be able to visit this year, see the work on the ground and get involved too.
What our support means
For Gav and Jem, it is all about knowing that they have consistent and loving support from the church:
Knowing that people are praying for us, and making sacrifices to support us, means everything. You enable us to work in this difficult area and help bring about transformation. Thank you!
Gav Hicks, Eden Walsall Team Leader
Eden Walsall continue to do everything they can to support local families and young people: delivering prescriptions, making video assemblies for school, litter picks, prayer walks, sport, outdoor activities and more. And they’re hoping to launch their youth and children’s groups again soon.