They come in groups. They come alone. They come by invitation. They come because they happen to walk by and were drawn in by the music, the joy, the fellowship, the friendship and the laughter. Regardless of the reason, week after week, month after month, year after year, they still come. Since 1996, we have been running our 'Elderly Friendship Club' in the East End of London.
Our 'Elderly Friendship Club' consists of a hearty meal and refreshments surrounded by an atmosphere of acceptance, warmth, and compassion. Preceding the meal, there is always time given to Bible teaching, reflection towards God, and prayer. It is a time when the monumental weights of everyday life are shared.
The club originated as a friendship/lunch club for the elderly. Over the years, it has evolved into an oasis for not only the elderly and widows, but for all walks of life and social strata. Moms with their young tots, the homeless with their possessions in hand, and students, who find time between their busy studies, come to lend a gentle hand, a smiling face and a word of encouragement. Also, missionaries and Bible school students come answering a greater call upon their lives. They spend their time cooking, setting up, praying for others, or simply talking with and lending an ear.
Our Friendship Club has prepared over 7,000 meals, served over 13,000 cups of tea, taught countless hours of Bible study, worship and prayer to dozens of nationalities, races, and ages. It remains one of the major gathering places in the community where everyone is welcomed and all leave different from when they arrived.
[The Friendship Club is not currently meeting due to a lack of facilities. We are praying for God to give us a place to meet so we can continue this vital ministry for the elderly.]