Bringing the church to your doorstep – outreach project’s bid to support people with their daily struggles

From left to right, Esther Day, Marjane Dexter and Gillian Thurston, who are part of the Lowestoft T

From left to right, Esther Day, Marjane Dexter and Gillian Thurston, who are part of the Lowestoft Town Chaplains project. Picture: ANDREW PAPWORTH - Credit: Archant

With people today leading increasingly busy lives, it can be hard to find the time to go to church.

But now a group of Christians have decided to bring the church directly to shoppers on the streets – so they can help to support them through their daily struggles.

Lowestoft Town Chaplains have been going into the town centre weekly since May to offer prayer and support to people on the street.

Team members base themselves in locations such as by the Britten Centre or near the old post office – and find that often people just want to talk, seek comfort and have a shoulder to cry on.

The chaplains also pitched a tent in Lowestoft for the Spooky Saturday event on Saturday, where people could light a candle in memory of a loved one.

Esther Day, who is organising the new venture, said: 'We're trying to introduce people to God, without talking about religion or church.

'We want to engage with people where they are and if they just want to chat to someone, clearly that's fine.

'Since May, we have come out every Friday morning to offer prayer. It's really interesting that we do have people who just want to sit down and talk.

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'We just know in Lowestoft that there are a lot of lonely people, a lot of people with mental health problems, a lot of people who struggle daily.

'Sometimes it's just easier to talk to someone – and it's often easier to talk to someone who don't know, rather than someone you do know.

'We believe that God has something to say about life and can change things.

'Spiritual health is really important. We don't expect people to be coming to church but we want to give people to engage where they are.'

The project's aim is now to build the team of chaplains to continue its outreach work in Lowestoft town centre.

The Spooky Saturday event was the first the team had done to coincide with Halloween.

Organisers believe it proved to be a good opportunity to engage with people while more shoppers were out and about in the town centre.

Ms Day said of the event: 'It is not completely about Halloween but we are using the theme of light and dark to engage with people and give them space if they want to talk or pray.'

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