Blog post by Sue Buckby (admin assistant) on Thursday 20th March

As I write, we are facing very uncertain times, unprecedented in our lifetime. This post was supposed to be a reflection on being a newbie at Transforming Notts Together, but I think the overall theme that I keep coming back to is that of the need for unity.

I’ve been working for Transforming Notts Together for two months now. In some ways (the best ways) it feels like I’ve been here for years. In other ways, I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown.

I have received such a warm welcome from both the Transforming Notts team, and the staff from the different charities that share the office space at Unity House. The building itself has an immense peace surrounding it, and I breathe deeply of the presence of God that is steeped into the building.

Tea cups and tea pots

Unity House is a very apt location for Transforming Notts to be based. Having come from a more fractious environment previously, it is so encouraging to see the Body of Christ, from across the county, unite to champion the marginalised and stand up against injustice. Most of my first few weeks were spent preparing for the joint City Prayer/ Faith Action Nottingham event scheduled for Wednesday 18th March. And yet, even as we wrangled with whether or not to postpone, the overwhelming responses from faith partners was one of love, support, and unity- regardless of the decision.

Before I applied for the role of admin assistant here, I had little knowledge of Transforming Notts, or Faith Action Nottingham. I have been absolutely blown away by the work that is going on in Jesus’ name in this fantastic city and beyond. I am passionate about social justice and having a faith in Jesus that is not just in my head, but lived out from my heart. In the work of Places of Welcome, debt advice, refugee support, homelessness advocacy and more, I see people loving God and loving their neighbour.

Person sleeping on street with sleeping bag and sign

A couple of weeks into the role, I was privileged to go and visit a community venue that is coming on board as a Place of Welcome. The premise is fairly simple- of having a space where people can come and connect, do craft or play games and enjoy tea and cake. And yet the hearts of organisers and volunteers, to commit to facilitating this invitation every week, is profound. The impact of connecting physically with other humans cannot be underestimated, and I came away gladdened and blessed from our visit. Thank you to everyone involved with projects like these- the love and warmth of Jesus is evident through your actions.

And yet. And yet now, libraries and leisure centres are closing, regular meetings and church services are being cancelled, or ‘moving online’, and we face a challenge of how do we continue to connect deeply and sincerely with each other, whilst being distanced physically?

I have found, this week, that it can be easy to be swept up in fear and hysteria. I cried my way through much of the worship at church on Sunday morning, full of fear for the vulnerable that I know, and angry that those who already find life a struggle are likely to be hit hardest. But I have found great comfort in prayer, and in holding tight to the knowledge that God is Sovereign. Instead of joining with 400 others last night at Trent Vineyard, our family of four joined together in our living room. We prayed for the current situation; we prayed for wisdom for the decision makers; we prayed for the remarkable organisations that would have been represented in person at the event; we prayed for each other; and we prayed for God’s Kingdom to come. Although we all love Jesus, I think this is the first time that the four of us have prayed together in this way, but I suspect it won’t be the last. God has already birthed something beautiful in our family group out of this difficulty. And I pray that would be your reality too, and you would be able to see God working for the good of those who love Him at this time.

IMG 0458

To close, I want to acknowledge what a fantastic place Nottingham is to live. Currently the council are working with many local organisations- Muslim Hands, Nottingham Citizens and Hope Nottingham to name just a few- in coordinating a mammoth effort to reach and protect the vulnerable and marginalised right now. With uncertainty over work and pay, many more will need that back up support in the coming times. But good things are happening. Humans still care deeply about one another. There is light to be found in the darkness. And so, don’t lose heart. Hope in God. Be united with Him and each other. And continue to seek Him in prayer.

‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.’ (2 Chronicles 7:14-15)

The Council House and Nottingham skyline looking to the south