To begin to document my journey to joining the East Hull Church Plant I have to go back 15 years. I began working at a school on Preston Road estate (East Hull) as a Teaching Assistant in September 2000. The school was in special measures and facing closure. It was in one of the poorest areas in Britain, and had the nickname ‘Little Beirut’ (some bits really did resemble a war zone) and one morning some children were excited because the estate had featured on “Police, Camera, Action”!
It will come as no surprise that me, a middle class, privileged Southerner, two years out of University was not welcomed with open arms. However, this reality was the best application of spiritual warfare and the benefit of Galatians 6.10 – 18 I could ever have had. Against the odds it grew in me a love for this part of the city; the people here are so real in a way you don’t get in other places, you know the saying, “They call a spade a spade,” well in East Hull it feels like they say, “Just so you know you call a spade, a shovel love!”
Flash forward 15 years, to a prayer meeting at Jubilee ready to announce the location of the church plant, I feel so at home there, so I was thinking, “It will probably be more about who goes than where it is.” Then the elders said “East Hull…” I knew then I was going and that night I had a dream where I heard God’s voice audibly speak, not long after I had emailed the elders to say I wanted to go. It was like being told you are going home.
Predictably things from that moment got tough, I had a year of loss and emotionally being put through the mangle. Even after John and Abi started gathering a team I began to doubt. I knew I needed to go to East Hull but I didn’t know how I was going to get there.
A few years ago God had given me a picture of circles in my life and how sometimes he would take me away from something to grow and develop me before sending me back to complete the circle. I had felt that going to East Hull was completing a circle and knew I needed to keep pursuing it even though it was hard. I was still grappling with this when John and Abi stood up on vision Sunday in January and announced the name of the church was River City, my church previous to Jubilee in another part of the country had been called The River, it was like God was showing me the completion of another circle. All time spent doubting, seeking and flat on my face pleading with God and finally I knew what I needed to do, it was time to officially join the team!