Early Growth of the new CWG at the Office of the Public Guardian
Just over 6 months ago, we brought you news of how we were helping someone start a CWG in the head office of the Office of the Public Guardian, a public sector organisation in the West Midlands. The group had just arranged their first meeting. Here's news from the group leader, Heloise, of how things have developed since then.
After discussions with TWUK I had decided that the meetings would be held once a month, until we knew what the interest was and had a better idea as to what people wanted.
We have to meet in our own time, so meetings tend to be after work, or in lunch hours. We agreed that we would want speakers, socials and meetings later in the day to accommodate the late shift once a quarter.
We now have facebook and WhatsApp groups going, and communicate via personal emails and mobiles, to discuss scripture, share inspiration messages and prayer.
In the event, we starting meeting just after Christmas. We began by meeting socially to get to know one another. There were initially 6 people who expressed interest, prior to our first meeting. There were about 8 who came.
The group grew quite quickly despite having difficulties with advertising. By the time we met the second time we had doubled in size! That meeting was in February and was another social time getting to know one another.
By our third meeting which was in March, there were 20 people on the distribution list. Out of those we were having 10 regular attendees. In this meeting we shared testimonies and again another social time was encouraged.
One of the members of the group had some personal bad news that we were able to pray into, there and then. When the situation got worse, I called an impromptu prayer meeting, which is quite hard to arrange with rooms at short notice. When others in the group had discovered a prayer meeting was being called they also requested much needed prayer.
I then contacted a friend of mine who had a poorly father telling them a prayer meeting was going to held that day, and asking if they needed us to pray. I got a resounding 'yes'. It was quite hard calling the prayer meeting that day, as rooms are hard to book at short notice. Despite that, we had at least half of the group turn up to pray about a situation they knew nothing about.
The group was getting so big, I couldn't manage on my own so I asked for some others to help co-ordinate. Scott heads up the co-ordination with the twilight shift and overall, and Dave helps co-ordinate overall.
By April I was able to get another advertisement in the bulletin which got the interest of our Nottingham colleagues, and the distribution list grew again to 25 in total. We had another meeting, which was a social meeting, however it was poorly attended, due to a miscommunication.
Nottingham colleagues were going to attempt to join us via telephone conference. However unfortunately, due to various circumstances, the group in Nottingham hasn't been able to continue, but I am looking into avenues to try and create a meeting for them, which I or the other co-ordinators can run for them as learning time.
We are due to meet next week - this will be our first late meeting and our first discussion based meeting.
I continue to get support and meet with Chaplaincy Plus in Birmingham, and have a spiritual mentor relationship that has recently started. My new co-coordinators are due to attend the network leaders meeting with me this month so they can start making the connections that I have made, and so they can receive the same kind of help that I do.
I am going to the Christians in Government event next week in London, and have already made connections, even before attending. I'm hoping I will get to meet the Christian network leader of our department in London, and there is a possibility of try to help run a similar event here in Birmingham.
We're also planning on starting a weekly prayer meeting from next Tuesday!