Ipswich church starts new worshipping community for people 'battered by life'

Some of the people attending the Safe Harbour Church Gathering, at St Helen's Church in Ipswich

Some of the people attending the Safe Harbour Church Gathering, at St Helen's Church in Ipswich - Credit: Bob Hamilton

Safe Harbour Church in Ipswich has launched a new worshipping community for “people who have been battered and bruised by the storm of life”.

Meeting weekly at St Helen’s Church, the gathering looks to provide a safe environment for people with multiple and complex needs, such as mental health issues, addiction or homelessness.

The church also holds a pop-up shop every Thursday, where people can purchase a bag of food for £2.

Volunteers help out at the weekly pop-up shop at St Helen’s Church in Ipswich

Volunteers help out at the weekly pop-up shop at St Helen’s Church in Ipswich - Credit: Bob Hamilton

Bob Hamilton, from the Inspiring Ipswich team, which leads Safe Harbour Church, said “The gathering is an accessible service suitable for anyone.

"We look at the Bible through the lens of someone who has been battered and bruised by the storms of life.

"A lot of people are suffering from loneliness at the moment, and we have found many people are longing to connect with a community like Safe Harbour.

“We would like Safe Harbour Church to grow and for it to be around for the long-term. We hope to help people turn their lives around – and serving others in the community gives people a real sense of pride and belonging.”

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The pop-up shop has been running since May, and the gathering launched in June.

The Safe Harbour Church holds a pop-up shop every Thursday

The Safe Harbour Church holds a pop-up shop every Thursday - Credit: Bob Hamilton

The church is also re-launching its community meal initiative in September, and will offer a meal on a monthly basis.

“The idea is that people who cannot afford to attend a restaurant can come in and sit down for a good quality two-course meal,” Mr Hamilton said.

The meal scheme, originally called Food for Thought, first launched in 2018 but was put on hold due to Covid-19. 

The Ven Rhiannon King, Archdeacon of Ipswich, said: “It’s great to see another new worshipping community starting up in Ipswich, one of 25 the Church of England is currently working towards through its ‘Inspiring Ipswich’ initiative.

“It’s particularly exciting to see Safe Harbour Church take off as it is precisely the sort of gathering I imagine Jesus would want to be at."

The Safe Harbour Church Gathering takes place every Tuesday at 1.30pm at St Helen’s Church.

For more information, visit Inspiring Ipswich on Facebook.

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