Month: January 2009

Alone2gether

Barbara posted this under the forum discussion but I didn’t want it to get lost there as I believe it’s proper place is under inspirational ideas Jan x:

Jan came to a Woman to Woman group at the Methodist Church in Prestwich, and her talk inspired me to take the plunge and do something which I had been thinking about for over a year !! My husband died in June 2007, and, in the months which followed it seemed that the Lord was leading me to people who had experienced the same thing.Bereavement causes practical problems, as well as the obvious emotional ones, and as a single woman once more, I found it difficult to socialize. If you go out with married friends, it accentuates the fact that you are on your own, and that is very painful, as I found out to my sorrow. It is not easy to go to theatres or even the cinema, as a single woman, and even a church event can bring back memories of when you were part of a couple.

Spurred on by Jan, and prayed for…very important!!….I started a group which I called “Alone2Gether” in July of last year. At the first meeting I had 14 ladies in my living room, which is only average size, plus about 10 more who couldn’t make it on that night for various reasons !! Praise the Lord for showing me that there IS a need in my community !!! We have had outings to the Bridgewater Hall, to concerts, and also a trip around Manchester Cathedral (one of the ladies is a guide there!) and a memorable evening just before Christmas to the Manchester Evening News Arena to see a Classical Spectacular, complete with lasers, fireworks and a cannon!!

Above all though, it has brought together a group of otherwise lonely women (we now include women who are divorced or separated) and we enjoy each others’ company very much. What the Lord has in store for all of us, who knows…but it’s exciting waiting to find out !!!Watch this space…..

Barbara

Book/Film Club

I have been very inspired by the Activate conferences over the years and have at long last acted on some of that inspiration. I have started a book/film club. I know this is not an original idea but if you are thinking of running one you may be interested in my experience.
I tried about two years ago but that group became too dominated by women who all went to church and to be honest were pretty uncommitted to the book group, so this time I went all out for friends who have nothing to do with church, faith, Christianity. I chose to ask women about my age, with the criteria that they all live in our town. Some I knew quite well, some I hardly knew at all. I have ended up with a group of 8 women: 2 I knew through work, 2 neighbours,and 3 old friends (only one of whom was a Christian).
We have now met 4 times. We meet on the first Friday of every month and we watch a film one month and read a book for the next, this gives us two months to read the book! ( A bit less pressure and expense as we can manage book sharing a bit).
The first evening we watched ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’ the true story of a man trapped in his own immovable body after a stroke. He can only blink one eye lid and yet he writes his autobiography. Very powerful and great discussion on the value of life versus the quality of life. That first evening was so exciting, not least finding out about the women I hardly knew. One turned out to be a human rights lawyer and watched a lot of Iranian films and another worked in Youth justice. All said they wanted to watch films or read books with issues that were worth discussing. Fantastic! I didn’t even have to say that was what I wanted to do.
The first book was The Outcast by Sadie Jones, excellent and loads to discuss. The second was A Thousand Yellow Suns by Khaled Hussaini, very, very depressing but still a good discussion. In between we watched Totsi, a south African film about a gang leader who accidentally kidnaps a baby and faces difficult choices about what to do next. (lots of tissues needed for that one).
After the first couple of meetings the group decided that rather than a long discussion each time about what to read/watch next, that each person would take a turn in making a recommendation. We are currently reading White Tiger, last year’s Booker Prize winner.
It’s early days but so far I’m really thrilled that it has given me the opportunity to get to know my neighbours (we are about to invite a new neighbour) and create a bit of a community around our home. I’m also pleased that an old friend who came through Alpha several years ago but dropped out not long after, has become one of the most faithful and enthusiastic members. It’s been a great way to renew the connection.
Hospitality is not really my thing so we only do drinks and nibbles and most people bring something but not every month as again this is expensive so I label anything we haven’t opened and keep it from month to month which means people don’t feel obliged to bring a bottle every time.
Some of the films are a bit ‘heavy’ a couple of times we have joked that we’ll do a sing-a-long Mamma Mia, who knows maybe I’ll take Mandy’s advice and go for it!

Book/Film Club

I have been very inspired by the Activate conferences over the years and have at long last acted on some of that inspiration. I have started a book/film club. I know this is not an original idea but if you are thinking of running one you may be interested in my experience.

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