Wellspring on Wellesley
The old Cambridge Military Hospital Tower rises over the rooftops of the new housing development. Wellesley, named after the Duke of Wellington, will be home to 3,800 households over the next 15 years or so, a tasteful mix of private, affordable and social housing.
When the plan to develop the old MOD sites in Aldershot was first announced over ten years ago, the local churches were quick to establish relationships with the local planners and developers. Over the next ten years Aldershot Churches Together would meet to pray and seek God’s blessing for the new housing development and provision for a church plant.
Today with nearly 400 homes occupied and a new phase of building nearly completed, The Wellspring Aldershot, a missional community has been established on Wellesley with the continued support of Aldershot Churches Together and funded by the Church of England and the Methodist Church. Drawn from the local churches a small team of ten would be pioneers are exploring how a Jesus centred community might emerge out of this new neighbourhood.
Led by the Rev Jackie Maw, the team has been active on the development for two years. With no café or pub on site at present where people might ordinarily gather, there was a need to bring the community together so that the important work of listening could take place. So, the ‘ministry of fun’ was launched. This has included a royal street party, quiz nights, bike rides and the now traditional Street Nativity with real donkeys on Christmas Eve.
They plan to build community craft café and establish it as a social enterprise that will provide the finances necessary to take them beyond their initial funding. As yet, that building is not available, but the new primary school is proving to be a rewarding community partner who are happy to offer hospitality and the new Ceramics Painting Course, the next step in their community engagement, is being held in their premises.
“Two years in” says Jackie, “we are being regarded as people to be trusted, people who care and real and genuine friendships are being made along the way. In the past few months we’ve had our first wedding enquiry and those conversations about God, life and belief are becoming more frequent and open. We are grateful for the prayer support of the churches in Aldershot and together as we see God’s Kingdom come in our neighbourhood, we discover that Jesus is already here, building his church, we’re just joining in!”
You can find out more about The Wellspring Aldershot by visiting our website https://wellspringaldershot.uk/ or visit our Facebook page The Wellspring Community.