We have had a very eventful seven months with a lot going on since my last blog in January.
On Easter Sunday we had a 'BBQ & Praise' event after a morning service. We used what little outdoor space we have and the sunshine shone upon us. Complete with BBQ and also Wendy Adams-Evans, our pro-singer, leading worship, too. We even had a coach load of 12 Pentacostal worshippers from the Wembley are of London join us which livened up the service and the BBQ. Over 30 people attended the BBQ as it was a hot scorching day for April. Fun was had by all and the worship went on even longer than planned. I found out later there was a bit of a buzz on the Hayling Island community Facebook pages about the "...noise coming from the Church..." that they thought had closed. So some free PR!
Since then Ross Grindlay, the Youth Leader at Portsmouth Elim, approached me about starting something with youth off the back of 'Limitless' (Limitless is the Elim youth initiative) and pioneering something on Hayling Island. In that same week Issy Scott, the Councillor for Hayling West, approached me. She shared her heart to start youth work on Hayling as she feels there is a great need to do so. Since the initial discussion with both, we as a church have just completed 'Limitless' Elim Youth Training for a team of volunteers and will be launching a Youth Group on Monday 30th September! The times are 5.30-7pm and it will run every other week.
Issy’s youth initiative on Hayling Island is called WAVE ("We All Value Each Other") and we are jointly launching a youth space at HCC on Monday 9th September! 'Homework Space' will be running (initially) five days a week 2.30-5pm Mon-Fri. Eventually a youth group will also be launched. All the youth pioneering, Limitless Youth, and our work with WAVE, is subject to change but at least we are getting started. We just need to find out what works best.
We are also starting our own Hayling group of House of Prayer (HoP). This is part of '24/7 Initiatives'. We launch on Wed 11th September 7-9pm. All are welcome to come and pray. It’s an open invitation for Christians across Hayling and the surrounding area to pray together. Portsmouth HoP will be coming along to support whenever they can. The October HoP is on the 9th but that is a J. John launch meeting at Portsmouth Cathedral to prmote J. John's appearances at Portsmouth Guildhall on 4th & 5th April 2020. November HoP will be led by the Baptist Church on a Sunday evening (date tbc).
It’s exciting what God is doing. And there’s more… Steve Ball, our Regional Superintendent, and his wife Helen, visited us in June and the meeting went exceedingly well. Many people turned up to support him and the work we are doing, and I preached. I’ve not been sacked after that so it must have gone well. In fact, since the meeting, Steve has presented us with a cheque towards some of the building renovations! Praise God! An answer to prayer. Still more is needed, though.
As if a visit from our Elim Regional Leader was not enough, how about a visit from a serving Member of Parliament? We received our local representative during a Saturday 'Vine & Dine' event at HCC and again we had a really good turn-out of local people to support us and meet the MP himself. We were presented with a Union Flag and a Flag of St. George by Alan Mak MP for Havant and Hayling! Alan, himself also a Christian, said he really enjoyed the atmosphere at HCC that morning and he did a good job of talking with many of the Congregation. Issy Scott came too, as Alan is supporting Issy's WAVE youth pioneering. Alan has offered to fund an external notice board for HCC; something that we desperately need. We will then be able to let the community know what’s happening with our youth initiatives on Hayling as well as all of our other, ever-increasing, community events.
We also now have 'Kids Zumba' (an independant, privately-run business initiative) to complement 'Seated Zumba', taking place in our Minor Hall at HCC. In September we will also have the 'Lipreading and Hearing Loss' group meeting weekly in the Main Hall. Yes you read that correctly... in the Main Hall, as it has now had it’s floor repaired! We do not yet have the funding for the treatment and subsequent re-decorating of the internal walls, but we can at least use the space if people don’t mind the rustic look! It’s a good space and that's what counts.
We are in the process of setting up the audio/PA in the Main Hall and have until 11 September to get it working for the Hayling HoP and then also the 15th for the Churches Together Pentecostal Service.
So, an incredible lot has been happening, and I’ve probably missed some things as there’s been so much going on. God hasn’t stayed silent! Some well-received rest in August, by way of simply just Summer Morning Services, (not to mention our well-deserved holiday in Norfolk) was well-received. Come September we will, once again, hit the road running. Yes, there's a lot happening in September for the church and for me pulling all the different elements together.
My husband, Nicholas, is as always busy too, managing all that the premises demand of him and continually improving the experience of being at HCC. Not only is he project-managing the Main Hall Restoration Project but he is always hands-on himself carrying-out maintenance and rapairs wherever and whenever required (which is basically continuously). Nick is constantly applying for funding from various grant-making organisations as the sums involved are many thousands of pounds which is beyond the scope of the Church's own bank account. The floor has finally been repaired, replaced and restored in the Main Hall since writing my last blog. This means the church's Main Hall floor is now safe, enabling Nick to bring that potentially magnificent space back in-to-bounds for the first time in years, and hence on its way to being fully-used again. Check out the Restoration page of our website for a history of the church premises since I returned to manage and lead the Church in September 2017.
Thank you for reading and I hope you've enjoyed my summary of February-August 2019 at Hayling Christian Centre.
Reverend Karen Bassett first led the church from August 2005 until 2009, before taking a break, to return again in 2017. Karen holds a BA in Theology from the University of Wales. Karen has served in the Royal Naval Reserve for many years, and having been ‘called-up’ for War Duty was decorated for her front-line service during the Gulf War. She successfully passed-out of Britannia Royal Naval College as an officer, a Sub-Lieutenant, and has since been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Karen volunteers as the Squadron Chaplain to Portsmouth Air Cadets and as the Southern Area Chaplain for the Sea Cadets. Karen lives with her husband Nicholas (an ex-Royal Navy Weapon Engineer, Radar), at their home in Southsea. Karen is a keen runner, cyclist, kayaker and mountaineer, and relaxes by practicing trumpet, saxophone, guitar and drums. Karen completed her first London Marathon, in aid of The Sailors Society, in April this year.