How to get the most out of your local park

ParkLives is a free and easy way for you to get the best out of your local park. In fact, it’s much more than just a walk in the park – you’ll find a whole host of activities from tai chi to donkey grooming!

They’ve made it super-easy for you to take part and all of their activities take place in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. This isn’t about breaking world records, they just want you to have fun.

So go check out their website, have a laugh and enjoy some brilliant days out with your family and friends.

Southampton City Funding Bulletin

Southampton City Council have relaunched their valuable Funding Bulletin to make it more user friendly, easier to navigate and to improve its appearance, whilst also fulfilling their obligations to the General Data Protection Regulation.

To sign up to get regular information on funding and grants available in Southampton and the surrounding area you will need to enter your e-mail address here and click ‘submit’. There are also a range of other topics to sign-up to, covering everything from City Events and Community News and Events to Culture Vulture and Waste and Recycling News.

Community Christmas Meals

Communities are being encouraged to provide companionship to older people on Christmas Day by running a community Christmas Lunch event, joining up with others at a local pub or restaurant, popping round for tea and cake, perhaps organizing a film viewing or anything else that can be enjoyed by all those that take part. This should be a chance to meet up with old friends and make new friends creating bonds in the community that last well beyond the single day.

If you have elderly or older clients or anyone needing somewhere to go for a Christmas Meal they can put their post code into this website and it will bring up all the options in their area. Some even include transport!

If you cannot find your area, keep checking as the site is being updated regularly. And of course if you know of a scheme that isn’t already on the site this is a great place to add it .

Community Christmas Meals

Communities are encouraged to provide companionship to older people on Christmas Day by running a community Christmas Lunch event, joining up with others at a local pub or restaurant, popping round for tea and cake, perhaps organizing a film viewing or anything else that can be enjoyed by all those that take part. This should be a chance to meet up with old friends and make new friends creating bonds in the community that last well beyond the single day.

If you have elderly or older clients or anyone needing somewhere to go for a Christmas Meal they can put their post code into this website and it will bring up all the options in their area. Some even include transport!

If you cannot find your area, keep checking as the site is being updated regularly. And of course if you know of a scheme that isn’t already on the site this is a great place to add it .

Philip Yancey – Small is Large

mega church

Philip Yancey has written a fantastic blog on Small is Large reflecting on mega church v small church and the community they produce, well worth a read:

The majority of Americans, like me, still attend churches with less than 200 members.  We show up on Sundays to hear less entertaining sermons and less professional music—though we have no trouble finding a parking place.  Why?  Smaller towns don’t have the option of megachurches, of course, and big crowds make some people nervous.  I found one more reason when I came across this paradoxical observation in G. K. Chesterton’s book Heretics:

The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world…. The reason is obvious.  In a large community we can choose our companions.  In a small community our companions are chosen for us.

Precisely!  Given a choice, I tend to hang out with folks like me: people who have college degrees, drink dark roast coffee, listen to classical music, and buy their cars based on EPA gas mileage ratings.  Yet after a while I get bored with people like me.  Smaller groups (and smaller churches) force me to rub shoulders with everybody else.

Henri Nouwen defines “community” as the place where the person you least want to live with always lives.  Often we surround ourselves with the people we most want to live with, which forms a club or a clique, not a community.  Anyone can form a club; it takes grace, shared vision, and hard work to form a community.

Grants to help Transform Communities

Empowering Churches & Communities

The Church and Community Fund’s Quarter 2 2013 Committee meeting held on the 7th June,  awarded grants totalling £85,000 to 7 projects under funding themes one and two. Four grants were awards to projects that aim to significantly expand the Church’s engagement with neighbourhood renewal and improve the quality of life for those in the community. A further three grants were awarded to projects that have sought innovative ways of developing established community engagement to grow the Church. A full list of supported projects can be found here.

Great Questions To Evaluate If You Are Living in True Community

Brian Howard writes:

Christianity is not simply attending a church service. Christianity is not only personal. Beyond having a personal relationship with God and attending a church service on Sundays, the Scriptures clearly show Christians having close relationships with each other. These relationships go beyond Sundays. Are you living out what God really has for you? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you daily living life with?
  • Who in your life truly knows your struggles?
  • Who are you encouraging continuously?
  • Who are you regularly praying with?
  • Who is praying for you?
  • Who are you partnering with to reach unbelievers that you know?
  • Who can correct you?
  • Who are you investing in?
  • With whom do you meet with to discuss what God is teaching you?
  • Who would be by your hospital bed to pray for you and encourage you?
  • Who will not allow you to walk away from your marriage or from the faith?
  • Are you faithfully participating in the life of a local church?
  • Who would you meet with if your marriage was in trouble?
  • Who have you counseled with the Word of God recently?

God’s design for you is not to live out your Christian life personally. The clear pattern of the New Testament is that every Christian would have a network of close spiritual friendships. God wants so much more for us than we often realize. Consider going beyond the individualistic, event-driven, western Christianity that many of us are so familiar with. Instead, embrace God’s design for living the Christian life.