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.

 

Steve Balsamo’s Song Release Helps Raise Funds for Zac’s Place

Swansea based recording artist and songwriter Steve Balsamo has a released a beautiful new song this Christmas, and has chosen to support Zac’s Place in the process. Steve, a long time friend and advocate of Zac’s Place, has included a donation link on all his social media platforms for the lyric video of the song ‘Tenderheart’. Thank you Steve and your ever loyal supportive followers. Check out the song below and expand the text to read the full story.

Hello all,

Huge thanks to everyone at BBC Radio Wales who will be playing a new song of mine, Tenderheart, over the…

Posted by Steve Balsamo on Sunday, 13 December 2020

The Benefits of Partnership Working in the Community

We continue to be grateful to Swansea Council for their partnership working including assistance from their Swansea Food Poverty Fund to maintain the emergency food provision throughout the pandemic.

Measures are being put in place to help homeless people across Swansea through the holiday season. We’re working with…

Posted by Swansea Council on Wednesday, 16 December 2020

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/

Sean’s Radio Wales ‘Wednesday Word’ Transcript, 25 March 2020.

Broadcast from home via telephone this time, rather than in the studio due to the Covid-19 emergency, here’s a slightly edited version of Sean’s transcript from 25.3.20 on Eleri Sion’s Show.

Everyone’s life and routines have been turned upside down in recent days and our house is no exception.  There’s skateboards sitting idle. There’s a drum kit that won’t be going in and out for gigs. There’s a school prom that won’t be happening, but to my daughter’s relief, no exams to take either. Like many others in the same boat, my wife and one of our son’s work has dried up.

Many of us are worried at the moment – and that’s understandable. But, do you know what? …  even in the early stages of this crisis, I’ve seen some signs of hope.

As you know, at Zac’s Place we do lot of work in Swansea with people who are vulnerable and often live on the streets.  Last week I had a call from the NHS homeless outreach team, wanting to talk. I was desperate for advice to know what to do for the best in these days, but to my surprise, they wanted our help. Ahead of the game as always, they recognised the need to see every homeless or vulnerably housed person, not just quickly accommodated but also fed.

In a matter of days, volunteers have jumped to action alongside the council and welfare agencies. Already, this week in our area, around 160 vulnerable people have been safely fed each day from a community kitchen, with food delivered to their hostel or B&B. Of course, there’s huge challenges – how do you encourage people to isolate that don’t want to be? But we can try our best.

And there are surprises too. Some individuals who usually refuse support, are seeing the seriousness of what’s happening. They’re reaching out to take the help because they trust us, as we plead with them. And they in turn are reaching out to their mates and persuading them to take refuge.

And here’s the hope. In our communities, people are already working together to make sure others aren’t forgotten. And of course, it’s not just the homeless who are vulnerable. If we ourselves are not vulnerable, then within a very short distance from us, in our street someone will be.

As a Christian, I believe that none of us escapes God’s love. With his mates alongside, Christ reached out to those who would often have been ignored. And that’s how each of us can make a difference today.  Who in our street, our community is in danger of being overlooked?  Have a think – who are they?

None of us knows how long this pandemic will last.

But knowing you’re not forgotten, might be one of the most precious gifts, we can bring anyone in the coming days. 


Sean Stillman. This a slightly edited version of the script from his ‘Wednesday Word’ for BBC Radio Wales, 25.3.20. (Weds Word producer Lisa Hawkins). The original is on BBC Sounds at approximately 1.47 in.

God’s Biker Book Tour

Thank you for the recent support and encouragement on the tour of dates following the release of God’s Biker. Here’s a few snapshots from along the way. It really was such an encouragement to connect and sometimes re-connect with so many people. I shall be making a return to Australia for a few dates there, after a long absence, and listen out for some features on UCB radio here in the UK and other features in the press regarding God’s Biker: Motorcycles & Misfits. Grateful to Wynne Evans at BBC Radio Wales for a recent interview who gave room for some stories from Zac’s Place. In all of this the ongoing efforts at Zac’s Place continue with a great team of volunteers and community connections./ Thanks for your ongoing interest and support.

Fully Loaded for the week on the road

Signing at the Reading event

Swansea at The Hyst

Back at the BBC

God’s Biker needed to go into it’s first reprint prior to release date due to the high numbers of pre-orders thank you! Zac’s Place will be benefitting from all of Sean’s royalties.

At Kennet Valley Free Church, Reading

Pleased to get their copies!

With Wynne Evans at BBC Radio Wales in Cardiff

Beatitudes Exhibition Now Open

We are so pleased to be able to write with news that our wonderful Beatitudes exhibition opened at Swansea Grand Theatre on 21 November 2016 and will remain on view until 4 Feb 2017.

These eight pieces of work from seven different artists cover a wide variety of art mediums and pack a real punch as each artist poured their heart and soul into their work, drawing on Jesus’ words know as ‘The Beatitudes’ in Matthew’s Gospel chapter five.

For the last ten years this work has been based at Zac’s Place and now is available to a wider audience. You can view that work for free on Level two of the exhibition area of the theatre whenever the threat is open, which is usually daily from 9.30am and until the end of the evening performances in the main house or the depot theatre.

Please find below a few pictures from our opening night – hopefully they’ll serve as enough of a taster to get you along! It was great to have a couple of the artists there too!

And here’s how they got there! 
These cases now mean that the exhibition is available to travel to other venues.

The Beatitudes at The Grand

We are delighted to announce that our in house art commission inspired by The Beatitudes of Jesus, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, will be exhibited on Level 2 at Swansea Grand Theatre from 21 Nov 2016 until 4 Feb 2017.
 
 Feel free to get the word out and encourage conversation around these stunning pieces of work.
 

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.