Who were we?
We have a history. We were once a bigger church family but at the start of 2015, changes came which resulted in a decision to close the church. It was unexpected, painful, confusing at the time but since then has come equally unexpected direction and blessing from God.
When the trustees were called to a meeting and were given the news from leadership that the church had to close down, one of them saw an immediate picture from the Lord of healthy and vibrant seeds being sown in all areas of Banbury. She felt the Lord saying that we had something very special as Jubilee Church, we had learnt so much about being family and worshipping God and it was now time to scatter into other churches in Banbury.
During the next week, the Lord began to speak very clearly to me about a "Remnant" and on the next Sunday, all three trustees and Fran met at another Banbury church where there was a prophecy given by a former Jubilee Church member. The word was that in war there comes a time when we have to take a risk and put our heads up above the parapet and we should not be afraid because God is with us. In that instant, the Lord told us each very clearly that our seed was to be scattered at the root of the parent plant – we were to stay where we were. We shared our call with other church family members. Most found new places to scatter but some were called to scatter in the same place as us. We became the new season of Jubilee Church Banbury.
Who are we now?
Those of us who stayed, not knowing what we were being called to but responding with obedience, we are an interesting bunch. We were all the people used to the background yet in this new season, with so few workers, we all had to be willing to be used by God in new ways. Some have preached for the first time or led worship, others had never before had the confidence to pray out loud in a meeting or bring words of encouragement in public. Jubilee Church is a safe place, where no one is an expert and all have freedom to participate and explore their gifts in a relaxed environment, free from the fear of failure.
An interesting thing about those who were called to stay is that we all seem to have a high number of connections with people who might be considered vulnerable or disenfranchised. As a church family, we support individuals dealing with emotional difficulties, living with mental ill-health, those with chronic illnesses or disabilities, some with additional learning or sensory needs, people with housing difficulties and financial worries, young people who come under the LGBT umbrella and those living with addiction to name just a few.
Peter and Fran are our backbone and have taught us how to come alongside people whom others would discount. They are massively gifted in hospitality and every week welcome those who are linked to us into their home to eat. It’s been a huge privilege to become part of their family in this new season and to spend most Thursday nights in their home eating a meal with as many people who turn up. They keep acquiring additional tables to fit us all in and never seem to run out of capacity!
In the past three years, we have had many people move through our doors who were visiting Banbury for the day or staying short term. Many of those people seem to have been called to us at a times of flux in their lives when they have faced things such as relationship breakdowns, housing difficulties and illness within the family and we have been able to offer short term support, spiritual direction and practical help to move on to the next stage. There have been lots of divine appointments which is very exciting!
We continue to seek God's will for our next steps.