The Halifax church where homeless people and former addicts have found faith is the latest star of the Church of England’s new campaign.
The New Ebenezer Centre in Halifax, and the Church of England minister, Linda Maslen, who is part of the team that run it, is the star of the latest film from the Church of England for its justpray project.
Growing out of a Food Bank and Drop In Centre run by Christians Together in Calderdale, the centre has become one of the fastest growing churches in Yorkshire and has baptized over 90 people in the last three years.
The volunteer ecumenical group started to offer prayers to those using the food bank, and they found people began to come back wanting to know more about religion.
They realized a traditional church was not an option for these people – many of whom have low literacy and very different backgrounds – so the Saturday Gathering was born.
When it began to grow out of its premises in the old Ebenezer Methodist Church in the centre of town, Calderdale Council gave the group the empty building next door for a peppercorn rent to continue to provide the services – which include daily hot food, a winter shelter for the homeless and a homework club for children.
The campaign to promote justpray.uk will conclude with the launch of a short form film on Palm Sunday which casts the main characters from the Saturday Gathering in their own interpretation of a scene from the Passion of Christ.
All the short teaser films have been released with an accompanying podcast on the justpray website.
The teasers are loosely based on Psalm 22 – the words Jesus was reported to have said on the cross.
The film stars have all recently come to faith through the Saturday Gathering and most have experienced crime, alcohol or drug addictionn.