Laura Carlisle and Phil Sainty are part of St Johns Church, Bransholme, and have joined the Mustard Seed Stepping Up group in East Hull. They describe their church and community and how the support from St Mary’s Cottingham is helping them to develop plans for the future.

Bransholme is a large housing estate in East Hull with over 13,000 people and lots of families and children, we have our own shopping centre, good schools, good transport links and plenty of green space including the Noddle Hill nature reserve.

St John’s recently appointed a new vicar, Andrew and his wife Fiona and their daughter Anna arrived in January. With covid and buildings issues most things had stopped within the church, so we have a blank slate for the future with potential to reach out to people. Over the past few months, we have been able to worship and been praying and seeking God for what he has for us here. For the past few weeks, we have done a Sunday afternoon kids group called WOW looking at the gospel in four words, which has been positive. It is something we want to continue when restrictions are lifted.

One thing that we have kept going is the foodbank, which Phil and Laura continued throughout lockdown. Its currently run by amazing volunteers that help with the running and sorting. It is open to anyone in our community/HU7 who are struggling but we will help other foodbanks and homeless groups. Now it is just food but want to expand in the future, where we can get practical help with debts or other problems.

Our church building is only 50 years old but we currently have no heating and a few other issues. We are working with a group from York University who are helping us to think though how we could develop our building and grounds to best serve our community. We have been using the large space in front of the building for open-air services and other activities, which has attracted people from the community.

We are so grateful for the support from other churches in Hull and beyond and want to say a massive thank you to St Mary’s for their generous gift to us. At the moment we are hoping to be able to buy some bibles for the church which will be a massive benefit for everyone as we explore God’s word together. We have also discussed buying a few items such as a speaker, gazebo, and BBQ so we can host services outdoors on the estate.

We are a church with a positive outlook for the future, celebrating what we have done and looking forward to what we can do.