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Planting a Congregation in a Retirement Complex: One Year On

Winchester Vineyard

Last year we shared the story of Neil and Jenny from Winchester Vineyard, who felt God asking them to move into an independent living, retirement complex before they felt like they were ready! We recently caught up with Jenny to find out what they’ve been up to through the pandemic, one year on.

You can watch Neil and Jenny’s story here.

We recently caught up with Jenny to find out what they’ve been up to through, and how they have found creative ways to stay connected through the pandemic.

“When the first lockdown happened in March, we could foresee an isolation problem among our elderly neighbours and wanted to do something that would continue to make them feel connected as a community. We came up with the idea of having weekly competitions and set about the practical arrangements. Each Monday we post a brown envelope through the doors of the residents in our retirement complex. The following Saturday they pop it outside ready for us to collect. It contains two quizzes, an activity sheet and bingo numbers. We keep a points chart with the intention of holding an after-lockdown prize giving party. What we thought would be 10-12 weeks has actually turned into 37 weeks so far! The envelopes have been a great tool for communication. We encourage our neighbours to share good news which we print on the results sheet which is distributed.

Another COVID-friendly group activity that has proved a big success was our collaborative patchwork quilt! We delivered colouring pens and crafty bits and pieces to all our neighbours so they could decorate a piece of card that represented a patchwork square. We put together all the individual own designs to make a patchwork quilt collage which has been displayed in the restaurant in our complex.

At Easter we sent cards with a large print version of the hymn, In Christ Alone, which the residents loved. On different occasions we have still managed to pray for neighbours and staff. After telling one of the residents we walk the corridors and pray over every door, she shared that she found great comfort thinking of us walking and praying over the public spaces and particularly her front door.”

If you’ve got a story about reaching out to others and connecting with your community during this season, we’d love to hear it! Email us at [email protected]

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