BBC Radio Wales 7 Feb 2021 ‘Celebration’ Programme Featuring Zac’s Place

On 7 Feb 2021, Zac’s Place minister Sean Stillman hosted BBC Radio Wales’ Celebration programme, which brings a regular act of Christian worship to listeners. In this edition Sean included news of Zac’s Place’s present activity, some encouraging stories set against a backdrop of tough days for us all. A lament from the weeping prophet Jeremiah read by Jayne Stillman and four music tracks that explore the blues of hard times and the good news of gospel threads help shape a half hour  journey that we hope will encourage you.

The programme is available on BBC Sounds for 30 days after broadcast and can be found here

The programme was recorded remotely at Zac’s Place and produced by Karen Walker. Tracks played are from Bryn Haworth, Sandra McCracken, A Ragamuffin Band and Ruby Turner with Jools Holland.

 

An Update from Zac’s Place & Easter Reflection

Warmest greetings to all of you who take some interest in what is happening at Zac’s Place.

Here’s a brief update on our engagement with the local relief effort during the Covid-19 pandemic and an Easter reflection.

Liz brings us a monologue from the perspective of Mary the mother of Jesus, Jayne leads us in a prayer and Sammy & Kylie send a blessing from Wexford in Ireland. We hope you enjoy and are encouraged … ‘may the Saviour watch over you’.

Links referenced in this video also include:

Sammy & Kylie Horner https://sammyhorner.bandcamp.com/

Liz Hinds  https://notanotherwannabewriter.blogspot.com/

Zac’s Place http://www.zacsplace.org

GET INVOLVED

Swansea Together – Tackling Coronavirus: https://www.facebook.com/SwanseaTogether/ Swansea Council:  https://www.swansea.gov.uk/communityvolunteers

SCVS volunteering info: https://www.scvs.org.uk/coronavirus-vols

A Video Update From Zac’s Place

Like so many places, Zac’s Place has had to temporarily close its doors as the Covid-19 pandemic impacts our city. Sean Stillman explains what has been going on in recent weeks to see people supported in the city, especially those who rely on us and others like us, to get through each day. He goes on to explain how you can get involved in volunteering in Swansea during these days, and where you can get support. Sean also brings a refection from Mark’s Gospel and Singer Songwriter Phil James closes with a moving hymn, singing in both Welsh & English. The old red door may be temporarily closed, but the work still goes on. #SwanseaTogether

Zac’s Place is mission church and initiative of Exousia Trust, Registered Charity 1002581 http://www.zacsplace.org

Links referenced in this video also include:

Swansea Council LAC https://www.swansea.gov.uk/coronaviru…

SCVS volunteering info: https://www.scvs.org.uk/coronavirus-vols

Swansea Together – Tackling Coronavirus: https://www.facebook.com/SwanseaToget…

Phil James: http://www.phil-james-music.com/

Book Release

We are pleased to announce that Sean Stillman’s book ‘God’s Biker: Motorcycles and Misfits’ is being published by SPCK and due for release on 20 Sep, 2018. It is now available for pre-order in local bookshops or via all the usual online book stores internationally.

Now available for pre-order

 

‘Sean has shown me constantly what lies at the heart of the Christian community.’ 

– Lord Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, in his Foreword.

 

For more information please go HERE.

A Lament From Zac’s Place

On Tuesday evenings as a ‘church for ragamuffins’ community we gather together to study, discuss and grapple with the Bible. They’re often very frank and refreshingly honest times of faith and struggle. Quite often we methodically work through a book of the bible. When Sean suggested we looked at the book of Lamentations there were a few raised eyebrows!

However at the end of the series, which demonstrated a language for pain and suffering and finding God in it, each was invited to contribute to writing our own Lament. Liz patiently and skilfully compiled everyone’s contributions into what you read below. Enjoy.


Zac’s Lament

God, I feel worn out, frustrated.
I am too busy being busy to notice what people need yet I judge them because I feel I am the one who has to do all the work.
I am a let-down, embarrassed at the state I sometimes find myself in and crushed when those close to me see me like that.
My heart is heavy because my words have caused hurt to others;
I have brought disharmony to my family.
My parents have seen their hopes fade and they – and I – have seen the effects of addiction on those we love.
I see those who suffer from illness and those who mourn with grief so deep at the loss of their parents.
And with eyes that can no longer cry I give the word for my beautiful dog to be put to sleep.
My stupidity, naivety, fear and anxiety get in the way
and stop me helping others.
I’ve been taking God for granted,
missing out on the freshness of his love.
I wish time could be reversed; what if I had done things differently?

The city has a heavy spirit of despair, where is hope?
It has never recovered from past hurts;
many great shops have closed down
and money has been wasted on foolish projects.
Greed and materialism have taken up residence.
We’ve given up on our dreams and our passions.
Nobody cares about our environment or government,
because we believe we are powerless to change anything.
We experience a lack of community, concern and love
where the homeless are treated like nobodies,
people are rejected instead of embraced
and a huge amount of food is wasted.
An offer of friendship is seen as weakness
and there is no appreciation for those who help others.
Only the gossips, who find pleasure in reminding us of our past failings, thrive.

The world is round like the lives people lead, always coming back to the same conclusion:
where is hope?
We have the society we deserve, a throwaway society where racism, violence and rubbish abound, where it’s every man for himself. Self, self, self.
Governments everywhere act out of selfish interests
instead of for the common good.
Migrants, child soldiers, Syria, cruelty to animals, torture, rape, degradation of women, Palestine, injustice, fear, refugees, hatred, sorrow.
We have lost our passion for justice; we have lost respect for all living creatures.
Where is hope?

All who hope make hope.
Hope is finding a purpose, putting an idea in place when there is nothing left to salvage – and believing that it will come to pass.
Hope is in places like Zac’s where people talk to each other and treat each other with respect.
Hope is in drug agencies and churches beginning to work together for people instead of preaching at them.
Hope is seen in surprising places, in street children who should have none.
Hope is in people who care, people like us, people who will work 100% for God.
I believe God has a wider plan,
one that will use people’s gifts to help put things right,
one that through prayer, community and action will produce fruit.
When we love each other, when we allow ourselves to be the wild sacred beings God created,
we are powerful beyond measure.
With God’s help
we can be the change we want to see in the world.
God’s love and grace are overwhelming,
his forgiveness never-ending.

A Sonnet For Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday
 
 Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
 
 The seething holy city of my heart,
 
 The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
 
 Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
 
 They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
 
 And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
 
 The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
 
 Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
 
 The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
 
 Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
 
 The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
 
 And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
 
 Of a perverted temple. Jesus come
 
 Break my resistance and make me your home.
 
 “From Sounding the Seasons, by Malcolm Guite, CanterburyPress 2012″
 
 

Sean writes from Ukraine

Visits to the Ukraine have always been rich experiences for me. There’s always an air of unpredictability about them.
 
 Back in 2006, I found myself locked in a police station, saw the A&E hospital department after a travelling companion was mowed down by a drunk driver and thought I was eating rat soup!
 I go there to encourage others, primarily my God’s Squad mates and their connected mission church community, (God’s Garage in Zhytomir), but I always return home richly blessed by them and their community. Their generosity, fortitude, resourcefulness, creativity and faith shine. Even more so on this visit with the dark shadow of what is happening on their borders with Russia. I spoke with guys fresh from the frontline, (still with ringing in their ears from blasts), others whose homes had been obliterated, heading west to safety and many more with a deep fear for what may come.
 This place and its people have crept into my heart over the years. I continue to pray for them and their nation and also be deeply moved by the work of God’s grace among them.


Here’s a pic with some of our friends there after a gathering at God’s Garage on Sunday. It’s a mission work significantly influenced by our efforts over the years and one that you as friends and supporters of the trust have had a part to play in.

Summer at Zac’s Place

A few snaps from recent times with Zac’s folk this summer…
 
 Time sharing with Korean mission students at Nations in Llanelli


Nicky’s Baptism at Aberavon


Sian and Tony’s baptism in Swansea bay


Gritty Productions pilot theatre project featuring pro actors alongside those with experience of homelessness – Barry plays his part

Guardian Feature

A couple of months back the Guardian were looking for photos of church congregations to be sent in for a web feature. Liz sent the one below in and it made their main feature and prompted a follow up interview along with a couple of other churches covering several topical issues.


… here’s an excerpt from Sean’s interview.

“Often when you peel back all the layers, a lot of what people struggle with is not Christianity but church culture. A lot of the folks I spend my time with say that when they sit in church and look at the front it reminds them of a school assembly or going to court. When they realise what the Christian faith actually is, they discover that it’s not all that monster-like and much closer to what they’ve been looking for the whole time.”

You can find the full article here:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/06/christianity-church-congregations-readers-stories