It’s been incredible to look back on the last year and see how God’s taken one Community Grocery and turned it into 11! And this year in 2022, we’re dreaming of launching another 12 groceries across the UK, with openings in Newcastle and Bedworth happening next month. As over 11,000 families already come and shop at the groceries each week, God is moving and transforming lives.
Over in Redcar, Sharon popped into the grocery for the first time last week but didn’t have enough for a membership or a shop. As we got chatting with her and explained the heart of what we do in store, we were able to give her a free shop and a year’s membership. Sharon got really emotional and opened up about how she looks after children at home and often finds it difficult to provide for them. She’d been feeling hopeless, lonely and anxious but was so relieved to find the support she needed at the Community Grocery.
The team were able to share about how the grocery is also a place where anyone can come, sit and have a chat with someone. Sharon was really moved by this and said, ‘It often feels like I don’t have anywhere to go or anyone to talk to. Thank you for making me feel really welcome, and I can’t wait to come back next week!’
As well as chatting to people in store about the love and hope Jesus offers us, we also run Exploring Christianity, Alpha and the4points courses in store for members who want to explore faith further. And we’re seeing many people come along, find out more about Jesus and want to give their lives to him! In Redcar, so many responded to the gospel on Alpha courses, that the team are starting new prayer courses to help support people as they deepen their relationship with God.
One man coming along is John. We first met him and his wife Julie in store and Julie was immediately interested in them coming along to Alpha. At first John was really reluctant and was adamant that faith wasn’t for him. Over the weeks in store and during the course, he started asking more questions about Jesus and started opening up and sharing how welcome and at home he feels in the grocery. Last week he got chatting to the team about how he’d been offering to pray for people he’d met and that he wanted to commit to Jesus and get baptised! It’s amazing to see him going from strength to strength and encouraging others at the grocery in their faith.
To keep up to date with the launch of new Community Groceries, sign up for our weekly news email at message.org.uk/connect