Openshaw is a neighbourhood situated along a main road east of Manchester. Once a busy industrial area, the decline in the manufacturing sector hit Openshaw hard and Government statistics now rate the area as the 11th most deprived out of 32,482 areas in the UK. In response to this deprivation, Gary Bishop, with the help of Sam and Nicci Ward (left), started Eden Openshaw in 2000, at the same time as starting a church, in partnership with the Salvation Army.
Openshaw Community Church, as the host church for Eden Openshaw, has a motto – ‘Together Devoted’. This hints at a commitment to both Jesus Christ and to the community in which we live, and alludes to our desire to be united, work with other Christians and groups to seek the peace and prosperity of the city (as per Jeremiah 29:7).
We live that out through our vision which is to ‘communicate and demonstrate the love of God in practical and relevant ways’. Living in the community we seek to actively engage with local residents and build relationships built on mutual respect and understanding. We’re not here simply to serve and teach but to receive and be taught ourselves. Over the years the community has changed rapidly, and as the needs of the community change we try to respond in innovative and practical ways.
Our Salvation Army building is becoming a vibrant community facility, with a Charity Shop becoming our primary base for contact in the community. Our initial focus on work with young people has broadened to include also pre-school activities, schools and children’s work and advocacy for vulnerable adults such as addicts. Read about their recent schools work in the Truth about Drugs story where there is a link to the web resource for children and parents who want to know more.
Our team has been here for several years now, and living out God’s calling to love Him and love each other in Openshaw has meant sharing in significant and life changing events, both with each other, and our community. To find out more about our team take a look at the Eden Openshaw website and get in touch on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam & Nicci Ward Church & Project Leaders