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An Active Purpose - An Outstretched Hand

A group of friends came together to explore faith in the light of their daily lives. Some were members of local churches; some disenchanted, were not. All were committed to act in the light of their explorations.

General picture of the drop-in centreThey met in a home on a 1970s housing estate on the outskirts of Cardiff. It was, and is, an estate with a high percentage of unemployed people, living on state benefits. There was little that was constructive to do; people of all ages just hung around. The group of friends felt called to develop a drop-in centre with an emphasis on welcome to all. They negotiated to buy the lease of an empty shop unit nearby and formed a company limited by guarantee and also formed a registered charity. They named the drop-in centre The Outstretched Hand.

The original group became the company directors and trustees of the charity. They help run the drop-in centre, together with volunteers from the local community. Photo of child at playThis core group continues monthly to meet and explore faith issues. The group is open to anyone who is interested to come, of any faith or none. Worship is inclusive and as one of the group writes 'the wide variety of life experiences and beliefs leads to a richness that has enabled each of us to grow and understand more of the ways of God.' It is their involvement in the drop-in centre that feeds this richness. God at work in the lives of those who come continually surprises and challenges them.

In the drop-in centre too, sharing of experiences and mutual support happens naturally. It is a kind of 'church' to those who come, where people can share their experiences of life and of God and support each other through difficult times.

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