Eden Gurnell Grove
We’ve just celebrated five years of our Eden team in Gurnell Grove (London) reaching their community, and over the years, they’ve used every opportunity to share the gospel with their neighbours. We caught up with Team Leader, Mark, to hear some of what the team have been up to.
HI MARK. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hi, I am married to Laura, we have two boys and I’ve been an Eden team leader at Gurnell Grove for over five years now. Before this, I was working as a young adult pastor in a large charismatic church in Ealing but felt called to plant churches on estates, in our poorest communities. Eden seemed like the obvious organisation to partner with for this due to its outstanding experience and heart for the least, last and lost.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FIND YOUR NEIGHBOURS FACE?
It’s an area where unemployment is high and incomes are low, so life can be tough for people. We also find that some in our community are battling addiction, have mental health and general health struggles. It can feel like a chaotic place at times but we love sharing the good news of Jesus through Eden and we’re seeing God transform lives!
WHAT HAVE YOU GUYS BEEN UP TO?
So much! We actually launched a Bingo Church off the back of a failed Alpha course we tried to run. We’d planned to run Alpha as people were really keen to find out more about Jesus and were asking great questions but it turned out people didn’t want to come along to a set course.
Instead, they were asking us to do a bingo night which we ended up running with a short talk of who Jesus is, why he came into the world and offered to pray for people. People were much more engaged in this and came forward for prayer, so now we run Bingo Church once a month. It’s really fun and a great opportunity to share about Jesus and pray for our community.
We’ve also grown our food hub from feeding 50 families to 500 families.
HOW’S GOD BEEN CHANGING LIVES?
We’ve got to know Bob – an older guy who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair-bound – during the pandemic and would drop off food parcels to him each week. Since then, we’ve been able to support him regularly in various ways: from sorting out his phone to helping with jobs around the house. I regularly got to spend time with Bob and has had many conversations about God and what Christianity is about and pray with him, before he moved out of the estate and into a care home.
ANY OTHER STORIES?
We first met Paula a few years ago when she started coming along to our events in the estate. As we got to know her, she caught the vision of Eden and wanted to get more involved, so started volunteering at our kid’s group and community lunches. From there she came along to Bingo Church and gave her life to Jesus and growing from strength to strength in her relationship with him. In 2021, she officially joined the Eden team saying ‘I love showing God’s love to those in my community by blessing them, helping them as much as I can and living my life with them.’
Another person we’ve been getting to know is David. We met David during the first lockdown and have been helping out with a weekly food shop since then. As we’ve got to know him, we’ve had loads of gospel-packed conversations and recently David’s started coming along to Bingo Church and asking more questions about Jesus saying ‘I look forward to coming every week, meeting people and having fun!’ It’s been amazing seeing him come out of his shell and we’re praying for him as he explores more about the Christian faith.
Another lad also shared with me this week, ‘The Eden team has really brought people together on the estate. Everyone knows each other now, the kids are all friends with each other, and the community spirit is amazing.’»