The Women’s Group has been running in the City Centre project for years, led by Women’s workers Leeanne and Linda. The group does six-week activity projects, followed by an optional Bible study. The women could choose to leave after the activity, but many choose to stay. It has been nice to have some ladies from other cultures coming along to this project, including Iran. The way that the women interact with each other and learn from each other has been beautiful to see.

We are now halfway through our project of Upcycling Furniture! When we have finished, we will have a trip out to enjoy being together and to celebrate finishing our furniture.

Jacqueline, one group member says, “It’s been good remembering back to my school days doing technical studies and being able to do it again at women’s group. Coming along every week has helped my mental health hugely and I am going to put my piece of upcycled furniture in my new house, when I get it.”

The pieces of furniture are really coming along, ready for women to take home, or give away as a special gift. “I have enjoyed painting and upcycling my piece of furniture. I am going to give my mum my piece of furniture for Mother’s Day as a personal gift, and paint it green which she asked for,” says Jackie, a guest.

We were inspired by Kintsugi (金継ぎ), the art of restoring broken pottery using gold, silver or platinum to mend the pieces together. We were inspired by the great exchange promised in Isaiah 61:3, for anyone who would believe in Jesus will be given beauty instead of ashes. We were motivated by how satisfying it can be to do something totally different and make something yourself.

Flo, a guest, commented, “I am enjoying learning a new skill as I have never done anything like this before.” Caroline, another woman says, “I like coming to the women’s group for company and to see my friends. It’s fantastic creating old furniture and making it new and designing it myself”.

Linda and Leeanne say, “Its lovely to see the women enjoying learning a new skill but actually getting so much more out if it such as building community, wellbeing and having lots of fun together. We upcycle furniture at the start, then have a Bible study over tea and coffee, looking at how Jesus restores our lives from being broken into something beautiful.” Linda and Leeanne choose to lead the Bible study is a conversational way, intentionally opening up the discussion in such a way as to listen, more than teach. Linda reminds us that “Some of these women have profound insights into the Bible that are a gift for those of us who have been in church for a long time might miss, so we remember to listen.”