By Bejay Browne
A CHURCH in Paphos is reaching out to help those in need by opening a new community centre to serve everyone.
Pastor Allan Hodgson of Paphos Christian Fellowship International (PCFI) said he hopes the church’s new visible location will encourage those in need to come forward for help and will also provide a valuable outlet for selling produce from their community garden.
The garden project, which has been underway in Paphos since February, is called ‘Matthew 25’, in reference to a chapter in the bible; and is manned by volunteers. They grow vegetables and work on the land and eat what they grow. They also give the produce to needy families in Paphos, including the Solidarity charity, which helps needy families.
This will continue, says the Pastor, but the church will also use the new premises to sell their produce, the money from which will be used to help feed and clothe the poor.
“The church’s vision is that the new community centre will be a place where we can feed the hungry, sell produce from the community garden, hold sales and many other things so that we can raise money and reach out to as many people in the community as possible,” pastor Hodgson said.
The project is housed in the old Welcome Inn in Kato Paphos. “Our hope is that this will be a place where everyone in the community is welcome, whether you worship with us or not,” the pastor said.
Until now the congregation of around 50 or so met at the Kissos Hotel on Sunday mornings, or at a small flat which served as the church’s HQ for weekly for coffees, meals and prayers.
“Here, we were comfortable but invisible to the hungry person on the street – so we’re moving. We only have to look around our community and we see those in need – in need of jobs, in need of food, in need of healing from deep wounds, in need of being given a value,” he said.
The new area includes a ground floor space for worship and functions, a kitchen and other rooms that could be used for anything from office space to a refuge in addition to outside space.
The Pastor says he hopes volunteers will come forward to enable the new project to take off. He said PCFI is an international church and many members of the congregation originate from countries all over the world, as well as Cyprus.
“We have people from Romania, Bulgaria, Egypt, the Philippines and Syria. In the current climate, many are finding it difficult to find work or to live here,” he said. “We hope to be able to have a soup kitchen, give advice and help and also have a mums and toddlers group where people can make friends and watch their children playing.
“Many people and families are without jobs, no income and struggling. We want to try and help as many as we can to make their lives a little bit easier.”
The new community centre is due to be up and running by the end of September. The pastor underlined that volunteers are urgently needed.
“We would ideally like open every day, serving coffee and light home-made food, providing free sandwiches, selling books, praying with people, giving advice and support. To do that, we need the public’s help.”
For more information, contact Pastor Allan Hodgson on 96 217416 or [email protected]