Gateway Church Fareham

Month: June 2020

Jottings from my chair

This inspiring reflection, written by a member of FCC who is isolating on her own, originally appeared in the April newsletter.

At the beginning of lockdown, as family and I thought being ‘home alone’ was the better option for me, I was considering ways of communicating with other people. Thoughts like: “How will I cope?” or, “I can’t be on my own for 12 weeks!” or, “What about shopping, doctors, dentist?”etc., etc. I’m sure we all had many differing thoughts as the news sunk in, realising that this was for the long haul, for the safety of others, and that we should really do what had been asked of us. Pondering this,I felt a nudge to turn my chair in the bay window towards the street, instead of it facing into the room. Simple you say, but I had no idea how God would bless me through this seemingly little thing.

In those early days of lockdown, God seemed to be bringing Psalm 91 to mind everywhere I looked and talked with people; I found so many of the verses wrapped me around in His love.

Looking out of my window, I saw a camellia bush – it was flowering, but a lot of the blooms, usually white, were turning brown because of the cold wind. As I looked, I saw a flower deep in the foliage, sheltered from the wind, a perfect white flower (no trace of brown). What a picture for me! God showed me how I could be deep in his love and provision – all in Psalm 91.

Then, I noticed that children had put pictures of rainbows in many of the homes in our street – symbols of hope. “Come on, you can do this!” I said. So, out came the paints and now there is a rainbow in my window.

Next, I thought “I’m praying for people passing by, and for those in my street”, so I made a praying hands motif with a heart underneath to put in the window.

Then, the teddies! I had heard that children were doing a walk to find teddies, so two teddies found their way to my window, one of which is carrying a little one – just another picture of God’s care for us. 

And, of course, I mustn’t forget ‘the special people’ passing by, who will knock on my window for a little chat through it as I sit in my chair – what a blessing!
Yes, I’ve had some medical and dental issues, as I mentioned in my list of concerns at the beginning of this missive, but God is so faithful through all of this. My family are not in my house, but oh so close and I thank God for them. So, if you’re feeling alone, or fearful, as I’m sure many of us are from time to time, call out to God. He IS faithful and loves you so. May God show you ways to ‘turn your chairs around’ in this very different journey we are on at the moment.

Much love (xx)

Acts 1 Reassessing Life

Between Easter and Pentecost, the disciples had a lot of thinking to do, a lot of reassessment. As well as the amazing change in their perspective, theology and everything else precipitated by the death and then the resurrection of Jesus (something they were still grappling with the implications of, as we see in Acts 1:6), they were having to come to terms with a more common, but still traumatic, human experience – the betrayal and then suicide of their companion, Judas.  While John mutters darkly about Judas “helping himself” from the moneybag, it is clear from all the gospels, including John’s, that his betrayal was a real shock to the tight-knit group of disciples.  The thought that someone so close (literally, one who shared the same crockery with Jesus – now doesn’t that suddenly seem an important detail, these days?!) could become a turncoat had clearly never entered their minds, as we see from Jn. 13:27-29.

So in parallel to the big-ticket theology stuff, they are going through a grief process: “I just can’t believe he could have done something like that”; “How could he?”; “What a tragic waste of life”…  And what has Peter been doing to find help in this time? He’s gone back to Israel’s hymnbook, the Psalms, and in particular (we see in Acts 1:20), to two lament psalms of David – Ps.69 and 109 – both of which prefigure the “suffering servant” language of Isaiah 53 (etc), and both of which feature betrayal as part of the load which the sufferer has to bear.

When the UK eventually comes out of lockdown, it will be a time of joy, but it will also be one of grief for those we have lost during isolation (whether due to Coronavirus or otherwise) and of reassessment as we try to come to terms with yet another “new normal”.  And like Peter found, comfort for that grief, and a mirror to hold up to our lives as we reassess things, are to be found in Scripture.  The Spirit, in His wisdom, caused our forefathers to leave these words behind them, because He knew that we would face the same challenges that they did, and need the same wisdom they discovered.  Technology may have changed, but human beings, and human emotions, remain much the same as in his or David’s time.  So take time, in the vulnerability we all share at the moment, to linger in the Bible and may the Spirit minister His encouraging, revealing, sense-making Words to your hearts as you do so.

FareShare food deliveries

Fareham Community Church is now a member of  FareShare and able to deliver  good quality, in-date and nutritious food to local people in need.

This is Lourentia’s story of her first day distributing FareShare food.  If you would also like to get involved or know someone in need, please either contact Lourentia directly or email: fareham community church

“Last Wednesday evening I headed to Tesco and collected enough produce for 10 local families. The next day, my car loaded with food, I started my journey with the Lord. My route would take me to people located in Fareham and as far as Shedfield.  As I arrived at each house or flat, I opened my car boot and knocked on their door. They were then able to come and take whatever they needed from my car. Some people were on the brink of tears at being given the food totally free of charge.

“This week, I seemed to have a surplus of bread rolls; but I delivered to one lady who happened to work at a care home which was struggling to get supplies. So, I was really happy to be able to give them her all the remaining rolls.

“I felt so blessed (probably more so than the recipients) and all it took was my time and some petrol in the tank.”

Please either contact Lourentia directly or email Fareham Community Church if you would like to get involved or know someone in need. People can receive regular weekly help or have a one-off delivery.

For more information on FareShare click here.

Reaching our Community

On Sunday morning, Fareham Community Church’s Cafe Imbizo buzzes as people grab a coffee and catch up with each other’s news before heading upstairs to the worship service.  Others stay and watch a live stream on the cafe TV.

But during the week there is another side to Cafe Imbizo; an open door welcoming a stream of West Street passers-by, as well as  homeless or lonely  people. A regular volunteer in Cafe Imbizo is FCC’s Shane Davies and I met up with him recently to find out more  about what the Cafe and it’s community means to him.

The Crafty Makery

Shane is half way through his planned 2 years of volunteering and uses Cafe Imbizo as the base for the Crafty Makery. This Community Interest Company aims to build community and fight loneliness through crafts. Current sessions are on Mondays and Tuesdays at Imbizo between 10am and 3pm, while Monday morning has developed into a group which provides a meeting place for up to six people with Fibromyalgia.

In new plans, which start this week Cafe Imbizo will now be open from 5pm to 9pm on Thursdays to give people more opportunities to meet others and build friendships:

1st Thursday: Board games
2nd Thursday: Craft evening
3rd Thursday: Curry night
4th Thursday: Community Meal

Shane also has plans to open Imbizo one Sunday a month for dads and their children, providing a space for them to play games and have quality time together.

Helping the Homeless

Cafe Imbizo has, for many years, been a place where Fareham Community Church can support homeless people, providing food, warm drinks, basic equipment and the opportunity to use the Church’s shower and washing machine.  Shane has recently been using his knowledge of the housing system and the financial support available from Fareham Borough Council, to help homeless people find accommodation.  

Rent Guarantee Scheme

However there is often a small shortfall between housing benefit and private rent, so Shane has managed to help several homeless people into  accommodation by acting as a rent guarantor for 6 months. This exciting embryonic scheme is something that he is hoping to scale up over the coming year, by partnering with local churches. By helping people out of the local homeless shelters, it will free up beds for others.

He also told me the story of a lady who has recently been made homeless and was living in her car in her employer’s car park.  She risks loosing her job unless she can find somewhere to rent. The lady contacted Shane on Social Media a few weeks ago because she’d heard about his success in helping homeless people find housing. FCC has now provided a safer place for her and access to its facilities, while Shane has kept in contact, giving advice and encouragement.   Latest news is that she had her first house viewing last week and should find a new home soon.

Cafe Redevelopment Plans

Fareham Community Church is currently drawing up exciting new plans to expand its café facilities and space as it seeks to better serve the local community.  In the meantime, Café Imbizo continues to be that open door, welcoming the people of Fareham.  For more information, please contact the church office at