Sue Hensby - handing on the baton of Across Peterborough
After almost six years of editing and managing the Across Peterborough website, I have now stepped down from the role as I continue to follow God's call on my life.
Across Peterborough, which is one of the projects of local charity Light Project Peterborough, will continue under the new editorship of John Wright (part of the City Centre Chaplaincy Team) who can be contacted via the existing email address of email@example.com
It has been an amazing six years as my wonderful husband Arnie and I have followed God's call on our lives. It was fascinating looking back at an article I was asked to write back in April 2013 for Network Peterborough, which was the forerunner of Across Peterborough. At that time we were living in Milton Keynes and were not initially planning to move - but God had other plans!
The article shares how I felt God calling us to sell up and move to the Peterborough area; that article was published on 1st May 2013 - more about the significance of this date in a moment - but by the middle of July we had followed Gods call and moved out onto the Fens about 25 miles from Peterborough.
I had already been volunteering with the Peterborough City Centre Chaplaincy team as this was part of my placement for my FdA in Theology and Evangelism that I was doing as a distance learner through The Light Project in Chester. As I settled into the Peterborough area and spent more time in and around the city centre, I felt God was laying two things on my heart. Firstly to set up Christian charity Light Project Peterborough with the amazing Chris Duffett - and secondly to pioneer a church led, volunteer based Winter Night Shelter for the city - something that we had volunteered with in Milton Keynes.
On 1st May 2014 (there's that date again!) we held our first open meeting at Park Road Baptist Church to share the idea with other church leaders and the City Council. It wasn't initially welcomed with open arms, but over the summer we spent time meeting with key individuals and sharing the vision, so that by October when we had a second open meeting there was a willingness to give it a try.
In January 2015, Light Project Peterborough became a registered charity with the strap line of "Revealing Jesus" Both the City Centre Chaplaincy and the pioneering of the Winter Night Shelter sat under its governance.
On 1st May 2015, we began a 3-week trial of the Winter Night Shelter that proved to be successful - the rest as they say is history as the project has gone from strength to strength and has just finished its 4th and longest winter season. The project has now developed to include the Garden House which offers a loving supportive environment during the day for those who are homeless.
Arnie and I often wondered why God called us to live in the Fens but to serve in Peterborough; we spent so much time in Peterborough and worshipped in Peterborough that most people thought we lived there! However during 2017, He began to make His plans clear.
We were asked by the East Midlands Baptist Association to consider helping out at a tiny Baptist church in Sutton St James - about 2 miles from our home. We went and worshipped there and found a small but amazingly faithful congregation of 3 wonderful ladies with an average age of 85 who were being led by an amazing couple who had picked up the baton of leadership "on a temporary basis" almost 15 years previously when the last paid minister left. They were in their 70's and also had a second Church to lead so were looking for some support.
As soon as we visited, we felt God's presence and knew He had a plan for the church - and that we were part of that plan. So we journeyed on for a number of months, supporting where we could whilst we began to lay down some of our responsibilities in Peterborough. The current minister decided to retire from Sutton St James Baptist Church in October 2017 and Arnie and I were commissioned as leaders at the same time.
We knew that God was calling us to open the doors to His house and to love people – and that is what we have done. He has blessed our humble endeavours by bringing us new families with children who are now regularly attending and actively exploring their faith. All this happened so quickly that we realised that we needed to lay down all our work in Peterborough and to focus totally on where God had called us to serve.
We are now in the process of refurbishing the building to create a hub for our community that in time will be open every day, providing a place where they can meet for a cuppa and a chat, possibly just sit and read the paper in comfortable relaxed surroundings, do some crafts or share their crafting expertise with others, access support and advice from visiting professionals, or find a place of peace, prayer and healing.
Our journey with the Lord has been a journey of many seasons and it has been important to know when to pick things up and when to hand the baton on to new people. Handing on Across Peterborough is the final baton to pass on and I am so pleased that it is in very safe hands with John.
We have often felt out of our depth on our journey but we always placed our trust in a God who equips us with the gifts we need as we need them - and we continue to enjoy our adventure.
Arnie and I have enjoyed our time serving in Peterborough, we have made many friends and met many amazing people who are totally committed to sharing the Gospel message with those who have not yet heard. I have truly enjoyed managing and editing Across Peterborough and am excited to see what God is doing in our city. We will now look forward to receiving the weekly updates as our way of keeping in touch.
Thank you for your support - and if you ever fancy a trip out on a Sunday - do come and check us out at as we would love to see you.