Ever been to a church funeral? The last service ever held in a church you went to before your circumstances changed? I have and I watched the tears flow as people said good bye to the building where they had met for many years.

I saw them giving away everything they had in their cupboards and even some of the cupboards themselves. The tables, chairs, table cloths, crockery, cutlery, vases, towels, sweeper and more had to be found new homes. Well what else do you do with the stuff that is left after its owner has died?

It was a while since I had been there because I had moved house. and it was easier for me to go to another church. It was only 5 or 6 years since I left and I wondered what on earth had happened.

It was understandable that some people were not there because I knew their health had deteriorated so much that they needed full time care. But where the others that you expected to see?

The numbers had never been that big but somehow as one person left another came in and they had kept plodding along for decades. When I was there they had gone up to 14 members but now they were down to 4 and one of them was in a care home.

One of the ladies who made the decision to close the church was the granddaughter of one of the couples who had started the church. The church had been open for 104 years and that family connection had been maintained down three generations. It was a terrible wrench for her but they had been backed into a corner and there was nothing else that they could do.

Once I realised how something as simple as a craft group could make a difference in a situation like that I looked back and was sad that I had not realised this earlier. If only they could have done something like that things might have been different.

You see it was 3 or 4 years after that church closed that a friend and I set up a craft group in a church. A different church in a different place but they had something in common because they were both surrounded by streets of houses that had become a magnet for people with problems.

I looked back and could have wept. It did not have to be that way. They could have done something to change the situation. If only I could go back and share what I had learnt with them. Of course I can’t do that as the church no longer exists but what I can do is share what I have learnt with people and churches in a similar situation.

That is why I have set up the Everyone CAN Craft mini-course. The idea is to explain how something as simple as setting up a craft group could turn things around for your church.

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