I love films. One of my favourite films is Perks of Being a Wallflower. I do not consider myself a wallflower in the slightest but I think the film has something that everyone can identify with. The search for friendship. The desire to belong. The longing to be noticed.
The main character in the film, Charlie, is ushered into a diverse and slightly strange group of friends who notice, appreciate and champion him. “Welcome to the Island of misfit toys” they say.
Connect: Face East in a sense is an island of misfit toys that have found a place in which we fit. Not exclusive but inviting. Recognising that God is passionate about community and can use our little motley crew to transform the communities of East London for His glory.
This Connect Group does family, and they do it well. Based in East London; long hailed as a microcosm of the whole world, with its edgy hipster socialites and its diverse myriad of food, language, religions and culture. AND now us: ChristChurch London’s Connect: Face East.
We meet every Tuesday night and are led by Basil Mussad and Catherine Warren and we think they do an awesome job. Every week we are fed physically (and I don’t mean nibbles. I’m talking full on meals with occasional desserts!) as well as spiritually. We hang out during the week. A LOT. We encourage each other. We are beyond loud. We pray. We read God’s word. We watch videos. We serve each other. We stay up late. We say sorry. We argue over films. We work surprisingly well in teams. We discuss the finer points of theology. We will sit anywhere and laugh about anything and everything and ponder over the amazingness of God’s grace.
Connect: Face East is growing. We have far more people new to ChristChurch than not. People “swing by” with the intention of only passing through but end up staying! Myself included. People on the fringes of church are getting plugged in. We all get the sense that God is building something special here, and we all want to be part of it.
We are still figuring out how we can make a positive contribution to our local communities. We’re working with GrowTH a homeless shelter based in churches across Tower Hamlets and have got some other exciting projects in the pipelines. All I can say is watch this space!
Connect: Face East is one of many groups spread throughout the city. You can find out more about them here, or see the whole list of groups we’re currently running here.
Catherine and Basil who lead the group have also suggested a few ways you may want to pray for them and their group.
- We want to grow deeper in our knowledge of God; of his mysterious ways and how He wants us to work in the area in which He has placed us. As a growing group we want to work out how to do this and maintain the strong sense of family we have already.
- Something that sets us apart is the fact we get people who are experts in particular fields or charities to come in and provide us with Social Action training. We would value prayer for more people to train us and also that these sessions will be very useful and will encourage people to step out in their own lives and communities.
- We are starting a new project in a park in Tower Hamlets that will involve running a Café and youth style events alongside. Prayer for many authentic ideas and the manpower for this will be amazing.
- As you heard from Raph, we have been helping to run the homeless shelter GrowTH recently, and through this we have developed a close bond with 3 or 4 of the guests at the shelter. We would value prayer that we will be able to invest in these relationships, draw them into our Connect Group and support them through their current struggles.