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Outreach Chaplain Making Waves in Lowedges

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An Outreach Chaplain and her army of volunteers are making huge waves in the community of Lowedges in Sheffield.

Elaine is creating safe spaces and changing the perception of church for those who traditionally wouldn't think they'd be welcome in a church.

The Terminus Project has been working on the Lowedges estate for more than a decade and has offered a community café and even a charity shop, however when the pandemic hit, things needed to change an that's when Elaine stepped in.

The Terminus can be found in a unit in the shopping precinct and is open for coffee mornings, toddler groups, a homework group after school as well as helping with food distribution. Various other social groups have also emerged in the last few months with the creation of a Singing For Wellness group, a Friday Fellowship group and a Health and Well-being Group.

At each of the groups Elaine and her team of volunteers pray openly and during the Friday Fellowship sessions there is worship, guided meditation, a bible story and discussion around what the passage means. This group regularly sees more than 20 people each week.

The Health and Well-being Group has been running for a couple of weeks and is covering topics such as healthy nutrition on a budget, laughing yoga, mindfulness and first aid. Elaine is joined by a local nurse practitioner for this group.

The Terminus organised jubilee celebrations and around 350 people joined in the festivities including a free picnic with icecream and inflatables. Families played sports, there was live music, performances from a dance group and a community singing group. The project hosted a community talent contest where people shared their skills in singing, acrobatics and even magic.

The Terminus Project have partnered with Sheffield Council so a range of services can be accessed from one place including mental health support.

Elaine said: "These are exciting times, we are breaking down the barriers people perceive are around churches. We are regularly seeing people who wouldn't step foot in a church, however there's a glimmer of light and this local community have joy and hope they haven't previously had. The perception of church is definitely changing. Jesus came to heal a broken world, he didn't come to preach to the wealthy.

"Working with our partners in Sheffield Council we are able to offer a range of services from one place. Many of our visitors struggle to travel so they are now able to benefit from our one-stop-shop to access the support they need.

"I am proud of what we've achieved so far, we are here to do God's work and it's clear he wants to be in Lowedges and that the local community want him here too.

"The jubilee celebrations were our largest event to date and the overwhelming feedback from people was that the event brought back memories of years gone by when people really did come together as a community and forge lasting friendships."

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