Val's vision for a Norfolk Christian community
2010: Norfolk Christian social action pioneer, Val Dodsworth, has a vision of a small new Christian community. The House of Genesis founder and ex Street Pastor leader asks if anyone else would like to join her...
Over many years, I have lived in communities of various sorts (1966-71) Mayflower Family Centre, Canning Town; (1971-75) Langley House Trust; then two years lodging and helping at Oakhill Theological College. Since my husband died in 1992, I have lodged a wide variety of people in my home from missionaries on furlough to ex-prisoners and mixed-up girls. Out of this, of course, sprang The House of Genesis which started in my home and has now become what it is.
I am now in my seventies and although involved at Genesis as fundraiser and administrator, I am past living full time amongst the most needy in our society.
However, I do not believe that God's ideal for us is each living in our own little box (He places the solitary in families), which is the way it is for many single people nowadays. I have no desire to live alone (I have no family) until I either die or have to go into care, and I have been wondering about the strength of a Christian shared house.
There are many single people around who live alone, some as a result of broken relationships, and others for a variety of reasons. Are there some who, like me, would like to change this situation and give some of their time to serving God in their local community, but not necessarily via the church?
Spiritually and theologically, I believe that, a bit like Street Pastors, a group of alive and alert Christians can bring blessing to the neighbourhood in which they live and move. What about a Christian household in every street?
I'm not thinking about a community living in some big country house, away from it all, but more like half a dozen people sharing a house in what might be a fairly tatty street in Great Yarmouth, praying for and getting to know their neighbours, and this being a primary reason for their existence.
I believe that this idea is God-given but we often cannot be sure of that until we can see it with hindsight. However I have now put my house on the market as a first step, so can only wait and see how it goes forward, but as one close friend has pointed out, I can't be a community/household on my own. So I need to find out if there are others who would be interested in coming in on it.
I wouldn't want anyone to be put off for not having capital money to contribute - this could be a bought (cheaply) or rented house, or perhaps there is some Christian benefactor out there with a property doing nothing!
As for who? I am open, except not people who need professional medical or psychiatric care, nor those elderly who should really be in sheltered housing. Single people - yes, couples without dependent children - yes, students - yes, Christians - YES.
If it is God's plan, He will show the way.
If you are interested in exploring this idea further, please contact Val on 01603 472753 or 07758 208470 or at firstname.lastname@example.org