#MyFillingStation – Craven Arms Filling Station
The Craven Arms Filling Station, located in the rural Shropshire Hills, started in March 2014, meeting in a school, run by Carol Morris, Margaret Semple, Susan Billington and Toby Braddick. Their goal was to bring 18th Century local church into the 21st Century!
The Craven Arms Filling Station started as the team had a desire to sing contemporary praise and worship. They saw The Filling Station as an opportunity to introduce people (especially those who were already Christians) into a deeper relationship with God in an informal and friendly setting. This would allow Holy Spirit to move freely and bless them, both in the meeting and in the rest of their lives.
During the Covid restrictions, The Craven Arms Filling Station have been meeting online. Not only have they been able to invite a range of speakers they might not have been able to previously, they have seen guests step out in faith:
“It’s also been encouraging to see people stepping out in to new gifting for the first time – people who may not have found the courage to walk to the front of a meeting have felt secure enough to raise a hand or note something in the ‘Chat’ facility and then shared to the gathering.”
“We have been able to have guest speakers such as Yann Dubreuil (former New Wine Rural Ministries Head), Laura Neale (YouBelong) and Anne Calver (Unleashed Church) who we could never have hoped to host previously. We have been able to record the teaching and any prophetic pictures or words to upload to our Facebook page.”
They’ve been aware of the isolation lockdown has brought too.
Toby shares, “While many have found the isolation of ‘lockdown’ very stressful, we have hoped to be a place of listening, prayer and encouragement and have been delighted that many folk that we could not meet with in our physical format have joined us online. Particularly uplifting has been those who, for one reason or another, are not physically able to join gatherings, who have joined and been blessed.”
How they’ve used Online:
- The team set up a monthly Agape Celebration, with Holy Communion: a monthly highlight for many.
- The team have used iSing to aid their sung worship and have referred to many varied sources for spoken and pictorial worship (such as icons and Iona/ Celtic liturgy).
- A group of eight ran the 24/7 Prayer Course using their online sessions and resources at the end of 2020: this was helpful and encouraging and many who have never met physically have developed a prayer link and friendship.
Their physical meetings were in a school and as the team are unsure of when the school will welcome non-mandatory external visitors, they are considering affordable potential alternative venues.
The team say, “While we appear to be meeting the spiritual needs of so many who cannot join us physically, we don’t feel any need to rush back… We are very mindful of wider needs.”