On Thursday 9 January 2014 we hosted an evening of thanksgiving and prayer for Love Southampton to give an opportunity to reflect and look ahead.
Below is the press release given after the event.
Dr John Paul Oddoye, Mandy Harding, Bishop Jonathan, Billy Kennedy, and Rev Mgr Vincent Harvey celebrate Love Southampton’s first year.
Churches come together to serve Southampton
Love Southampton, an initiative of the churches in the city, hosted a successful evening drawing together hundreds of people from across church denominations and Christian projects to pray for the city at the start of 2014.
Love Southampton is a new collaboration project between all the churches in the city, working in partnership with Southampton City Council to find new and innovative ways to serve the city. Twenty six Christian organisations were represented on the evening, including Southampton Street Pastors and Southampton City Mission.
The event included contributions from across the church denominations including a performance by Covenant Life Ministries Gospel choir. Their Pastor, Dr John Paul Oddoye explained, ‘Currently Love Southampton has working groups focused on youth provision, hardship, housing, children and families, creative solutions and fostering and adoption’.
The event finished with a pledge from the church communities to find 50 ways to celebrate the City’s Year of Jubilee: marking 50 years of being a city.
Billy Kennedy from the New Community Church, introduced the evening as a time to pray for Southampton: ‘Last year, we saw our unity together as churches grow as we looked to love and serve the people in our city’.
The event included an encouraging message from the Bishop of Southampton, Jonathan Frost: ‘Love Southampton is for me a joy to be part of. It’s the Christian community turned outwards to the city in partnership, humility, and compassion, seeking the good of everyone’.
Love Southampton will continue to support innovative project in the City such as the Southampton Street Pastors. Mandy Harding from Street Pastors said, ‘we already have 100 people from over 40 different churches in the city serving together as street pastors who have given so far over 24,000 hours on the streets, and it was brilliant to see how we are coming together in lots of other ways to love and serve Southampton.’
Chris Davis from Southampton City Mission, which provided food through its basics bank more than 8500 times in 2013, said, ‘churches are increasingly becoming known for showing love and kindness to people in need, I am delighted to be a part of this initiative’.
Rev Mgr Vincent Harvey, who supported the evening and guided the assembly through prayer, said, ‘I am delighted to be part of the Council of Reference for Love Southampton and to see us commit together as churches to respond to the needs of the people of our city in practical ways’.