Jared and Helen recently moved to Jubilee. Helen describes their experience of the Exploring Jubilee course.
When Jared and I were invited to the Welcome Group, along with several others who had recently been joining with Jubilee on Sunday mornings, we agreed to go along as it’s ‘what you do’. But I was very nervous. It had been years since we’d joined another church and as an introvert, I was worried about feeling drained. I’d also had unwelcome experiences with small groups running over time and not being home until very late.
The first evening, however, allayed all my worries. Rob and Alison are like a well-oiled hospitality machine. Alison’s incredible food was ready as soon as we arrived. We sat down and felt immediately at home. Instead of heading straight into business, that first night was given over to hearing each other’s testimonies. They were powerful and I felt utterly inspired as I listened to each person talk of God’s faithfulness and hand on their lives.
Rather than feeling drained, I left feeling grateful. We had found people who were courageous, fun and real. They didn’t whitewash over the tough times but they viewed them with eyes of faith. And, to my utter delight, it was very clear that finishing on time was important. That alone was enough to make me want to go again!
As we got to know each other over the next few weeks, the laughter became more raucous and the mealtime chats more open. I’ve loved the opportunity to chat over a meal with people who have stories to tell of God’s power at work in their lives.
Hearing from others in the church has also been refreshing. Rather than hearing it all from one person’s perspective, we have been able to quiz each person on their own values and how they fit into Jubilee. Each person has actually shocked me with the positive way they have spoken about the Jubilee family – so much so that even I’ve questioned whether it’s genuine. But the more people I speak to, the more I think this might actually be real. These people seem to actually love each other, have fun together, love God and walk through the bleak places of life with a faith that keeps their eyes fixed on Jesus.
As Jared tells me, there is no perfect church and if there was, we would ruin it by joining, but the Welcome Group has been a precious time for me. I have felt accepted to be in the place I’m in right now in the knowledge that healing, and growth will come as God does his stuff. Listening to others has helped me process some of my own pain from the past and discover that maybe I can begin to hope again.
Thank you, Jubilee family for the welcome you have given us, and thank you to the Welcome Group for your faith, your stories, your banter and your acceptance. Let the adventures begin.
Thank you Helen.