Figuring out what God is calling us to is simple really

(Photo: Unsplash/AnnieSpratt)

I am a parish priest and people often come to speak with me. It is one of the wonders of the job seeing people come alive to God and be inspired to do something to express that love. The question I get asked is, 'how am I called to mission?'

It's tempting to feel inadequate and wonder how on earth we can use our gifts. Some people get themselves in a knot because they have not heard from God directly as to their path. I wonder, though, if the answer is hidden in plain sight.

I think that God wants us to live life to the full and be as much of a blessing to our communities as possible. In a way he has already spoken on this and our job is to, well, get on with the job.

Four years ago, I started at my current parish, St Cuthbert's North Wembley. We have a smallish congregation but what a heart they had for the lost and lonely! We decided to have the simplest vision we could up with – to be a blessing in this place. The question that followed, of course, was where is this community hurting most?

The answer was that many, many people were lonely and isolated. Many of these were elders and some were suffering with dementia. On a whim, we decided to set up a memory café. All we needed to do it was a warm room and a kettle. The session was simple and consisted of lots of fellowship and friendship, a few quizzes and many rounds of tea and biscuits.

This week just gone we had more than 100 people at our café. It has come on a bit since we started. We have a choir, led by a local concert pianist. We have a seated exercise session led by a trainer. Our choir has sung at Southwark Cathedral and we have other gigs coming up.

Our café has served as a model for dozens of other cafés that have been set up. It is incredibly heart-warming. We open 51 weeks of the year on a Thursday and most weeks we get visitors coming to see how they might set up their own café.

Each week we get people from all parts of our multi-ethnic community. People tell me that our simple café has changed their lives and created a new sense of hope and community. What's more any church in any location would benefit from setting up a café. It is a way of developing a whole new congregation.

So when people ask me what ministry or mission they are called to, I say – start with coming on a Thursday and listening to a fellow human being who is lonely. Then serve some tea and help us to clear up at the end. It isn't glamorous but it is bang on the money.

If you think your church could host its own memory café, visit www.memcafe,org for more information on how to get started.

Rev Steve Morris is the parish priest of St Cuthbert's North Wembley. Before being a priest he was a writer and ran a brand agency. In the 1980s he tried to become a pop star. He is the author of 'Enterprise and Entrepreneurship: doing good through the local church' The Centre for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics, £4.99. Follow him on Twitter @SteveMorris214

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