Volunteering

The Noise 2019

We are excited to announce the Noise weekend for 2019! Following on from the amazing time we had with hundreds of other Christians last year for Hope Bristol 2018, we are back again to the regular May Bank Holiday Noise weekend (4th-6th May). It will be the same kind of community action projects as last year in the more needy parts of Bristol alongside free family fun afternoons and activities for senior citizens.

We realise that the Bristol 10k has been moved to the same weekend, but we hope those taking part in Love Running, could find time to volunteer for the Noise too, as we see God’s love being shown to our city in practical ways. You can volunteer for one day or the whole weekend, you can book in as an individual, a group or a family. Visit the Noise website for more details, and let’s show the communities of Bristol that there is a God that loves them.

Foundation Prayer Ministry Training Sat 13th Oct

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This course covers how to Minister in the Power of the Spirit and looks at 5 key areas which regularly crop up in ministry situations: salvation, confession, forgiving, healing, freedom. 

Equip yourself with the tools needed to bring the power of the Spirit to bear in the lives of others and learn how to lead them towards the freedom that God promises. An inspiring and encouraging day of teaching, testimony, discussion, and practice.  

We will begin at 9.15am with coffee; complimentary drinks will be available during the day and we offer the option of a sandwich lunch at £3 (cash on the day).

Foundation Prayer Ministry Training Sat 13th Oct, 9:15am - 3:30pm.
Venue: Main Hall and Foyer, Woodlands Church


TO BOOK IN, CLICK HERE

Can you help volunteer at our Student Welcome Week?

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This September, 16,000 students will be coming to study at university in Bristol. For many, this will be their first time away from home, and more importantly their first time away from home cooked meals. So, what better way to welcome these lovely Freshers than a big BBQ?

However, giving away 5,000 burgers requires a big team and we need your help!

So, if you have some time between Monday 24th - Thursday 27th September we'd love your help. We need burger flippers, conversation starters, prayer warriors and cleaning champions!

We love our students and we want them to feel loved in their new home, so please do sign up to help out. To find out more information and sign up, click this link (opens in a new window).

If you have any questions, email sam.cook@woodlandschurch.net.

Supporting an adoptive family

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Over the years, a few people at Woodlands have explored adoption. This is an excerpt from one couple’s journey towards adoption. 


We didn’t plan for adoption. We longed to be parents. After a series of fertility investigations, heart break, and a ridiculous amount of prayer - God lead us down this route.

The moment we stepped into our local adoption agency, we saw the love-ruined faces of social workers and adoptive parents. We heard their stories, their realism, and their advocacy for these precious kids, took a deep breath and started to imagine it for ourselves. 

Adoption is a beautiful reflection of our own adoption into God’s family; an all-encompassing response to a social injustice. It’s choosing to believe that what God says over the lives of these children counts. It’s embracing a new picture of family which is sometimes messy, but one that breaks the mould. 

Not everyone adopts, but how can the church rally around those families who are muddling their way through the process and challenges of adoptive family life?  

Adoptive parents take in a child who has been through significant trauma; maybe removal from birth parents, exposure to prenatal drugs or alcohol, physical, emotional, sexual abuse or extreme neglect. These wounds run deep. Kids are left with a sub-conscious memory and neurological wiring which can have a detrimental impact on their development and ability to relate. 

And yes, God’s healing is in it, but this isn’t always instant. Adoption can be a life-long, day by day, painful yet hopeful, ‘hanging-in-there’ journey.  

 


Here are some practical and emotional ways you can support the families, as well as some things to consider:

• When a family first adopts - they will go into hibernation/‘lock down’ mode. They are not ignoring you, but just need to work at building an attachment by letting the children know who Mum and Dad are.  They will resurface eventually but in the early days, prayer and chocolate apparently goes down well!  

• Coming along to church services in the early days may be overwhelming - give the family space. Don’t be offended if they won’t freely give their babies over for cuddles. If their children are older, they can be very charming and overly affectionate. This isn’t always coming from a healthy place, so try to point them back to mum and dad. 

• Don’t ask about the children’s past. Their stories belong to them and their adoptive parents will tell the appropriate people the appropriate stuff.

• Try to have empathy and grace for the kids. Sometimes (but not always) ’bad behaviour’ may be their trauma bubbling up.

• Taking and uploading pictures of the children on social media could put them and their adoptive parents at risk. It would be better to ask the parents first. 

• Take an interest in what parents have learned around their adopted kids, listen without judgement or read a book about it. ’No Matter What’ by Sally Donovan gives an honest account of the joys and hardships of bringing up adopted kids. 


When we told people we were adopting, there were broadly three responses. The first was fearful - ‘taking on kids with such baggage will destroy you, don’t do it!!’ The second was romantic - ‘how wonderful that you want kids who need parents.  You can crack on and live a wonderful life together!’ 

And the last (and most helpful) was deeply encouraging - a sense of getting that this was one of the biggest, hardest, bittersweet decisions of our lives, but believing God was in it, they would stand alongside us, listen to us, pray for us, and back our dream to build a family which by the grace of Jesus would speak volumes to the world about our God’s redemptive love. 

 

Run the Great Bristol Half Marathon & raise money for Open Doors

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Open Doors is a non-denominational mission supporting persecuted Christians in over 70 countries where Christianity is socially or legally discouraged or oppressed. They work with local partners to distribute Bibles and Christian literature, give discipleship training and provide practical support, such as emergency relief aid. 

This year, in partnership with Woodles, we are looking for people to run the Great Bristol Half Marathon on Sun 23rd Sept. The city centre run has become a long-held tradition in the national running calendar. Over 10,000 runners every year make this a must do event with an atmosphere second to none.

Open Doors will give you a charity place so entry for the race is free. Runners must be a minimum age of 17 and willing to raise a minimum £250 as a fundraising target. To find out more email the Open Doors challenge events team challenge@opendoorsuk.org.

Find out more about their work at www.opendoorsuk.org.

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Hands at Work Trip Summer 2017

In August this year myself and three other mums took our sons to South Africa to visit the Hands@Work charity based in White River, South Africa.

Hands@Work is a charity we are supporting through our 9.15am service. The goal of Hands at Work is to care for orphaned and vulnerable children through its unique model of community care.

It seeks out the 50 most vulnerable children in forgotten areas of South Africa and gives each one a school uniform (you can’t attend school without one), basic health care and a daily nutritious meal. In addition, they find the women (and occasionally men) who are already caring for children and offer them a role of Care Worker. These care workers cook for the children and act as a surrogate parent for those who may otherwise be orphans. The care point offer a sanctuary for children whose lives have been blighted by AIDS and poverty.

We stayed for 10 days in total visiting the ‘Hub’ (where the charity has its HQ) before travelling to Osheok to visit some of the ‘Care points’ and meet the children and care workers. During our stay we joined in with the Care Workers jobs by helping to prepare the food the children ate and serving it. The boys in particular loved joining in with this and were delighted to be able to help fetch water, wash the children’s hands and dish up the dinner!

One of the most important aspects of Hands’ work is performing Holy Home Visits. These are similar to the visits UK schools do for children starting school. This is a vital aspect of the charity’s work as it enables them to see if there’s anything that they can help with or pray with them about.

During our time at the various Care Points we were struck by the warmth shown to the children by these amazing care workers and were privileged to be able to join in with the provision of care given to the children. In particular we were amazed and encouraged that despite unbelievable hardship there was a real sense of joy in the communities and we felt hopeful that there will be tangible improvements for these children in the future.

- Anna Anderson


Our partnership with Hands@Work will be an ongoing partnership and will involve teams of us going out to visit our community Houtbos building relationships with our wonderful care workers and individual children. There will be prayer meetings and opportunities to get more involved, whether it is giving financially, fundraising, praying or visiting on a team. One of the values of Hands at work is to make it personal, so knowing children and caseworkers by name and praying for them is really important.

For more visit www.handsatwork.org.