“We thought no one cared”. These were the words of a prison officer after being reduced to tears from the kindness shown by Gateway Vineyard in Norwich, as their ‘1000 Hours’ revolution blessed ambulance drivers, school teachers and NHS staff.
This Easter, Gateway Vineyard volunteered over 2000 hours to bless their community. Hannah Deal, Senior Pastor, shared with us,
“As a church, we have been spurred on by Causeway Coast Vineyard and their example of loving their city into life. We had been seeking to use Lent as a way to mobilise people to make a difference and so inspired by Causeway and supported by other Vineyards like Ashford Vineyard in Kent, we launched our first 1000 Hours Project in 2018.
We asked the question; if we come together, to serve our local communities during Lent, just how much impact could we have? What if we united to offer our communities 1000 Hours of acts of kindness; a Kindness Revolution!
During this year’s 1000 Hours project we encouraged people to dream about what they could do on their street, in their workplace, in their school and their community.
We partnered with a primary school where some of the children from Gateway Vineyard attended. Every child in the school got involved with their own personal kindness passports, where they would log their own acts of kindness, and then post them in the 1000 hours postbox at the school!
NHS staff in the local hospitals organised for us to go in on certain days to give free gifts to every staff member working, from the cleaners to surgeons, and offer prayer. Over 5000 chocolate bars donated by Gateway and various groups and ministries were given out over two days!
A prison officer at church gave us the opportunity to make hampers and deliver them to all staff on wings of the local prison. Staff we met were visibly moved as one of them simply said, ‘We thought no one cared’. We wanted to notice the hard work and commitment of those often unseen.
We love that 1000 Hours gives an opportunity to simply try things! Last year we started a baby café during 1000 Hours which has since continued to provide practical help and support to those with young babies. One of our life groups organised a family craft event and 200 people turned up!
Individuals and groups undertook simple acts of kindness like picking up litter, blessing others with a gift just to say thank you for what you do, working in partnership with others to volunteer hours that help, baking cakes and so much more! Our kids wrote thankyou notes for 350 ambulance drivers.
We love that anyone can get involved in 1000 Hours, no matter how young or old you are – it is a place where everyone can take part and everyone can belong!
Everyone we met through 1000 hours projects we invited to a ‘1000 Hours celebration Sunday’. The Deputy Head of the school and those connected with other projects attended and shared the impact our kindness had on the local community.
Together this year we clocked up 2166 Hours during lent. Next year who knows! However, we always say, in many ways, it’s not about the hours, it’s about intentionally showing God’s love and kindness in all kinds of ways during Lent and beyond!”
What an incredible impact just one church has had on their community during Lent, and what brilliant ideas they had to show God’s love to so many people! If you feel inspired by this, why not gather your family, small group or friends and see how you can start a kindness revolution where you are?