“I will make the Valley of Achor a Door of Hope” Hosea 2.15
The Achor Community is a network of committed volunteers forming an intentional Christian community. They are part of the King’s Church Durham congregation who live and/or volunteer in a specific geographical area of Durham. We are currently focusing on the most socially deprived area of our city, the Sherburn Road estate in Gilesgate.
Achor was established in the Summer of 2013 with seven volunteers and two houses. There are now over a dozen volunteers and six houses praying and serving alongside one another. The aim of Achor is to contribute to Christian mission by being a positive social influence in the area, contributing towards community cohesion and building a flourishing community. By providing places for people to live on the ground in the Sherburn Road area, we are creating opportunities to better identify and engage local needs and so focus resources more effectively and provide greater continuity of community engagement.
The Achor Community aims to:
- Establish intentional Christian community
- Serve the people of the Sherburn Road area
- Model missional Christian community
At the heart of Achor is intentional Christian community, focussing on the importance of living and sharing life together, coupled with sharing God’s love in practical ways with the local community.
Building Intentional Community
The Achor Community have a regular ‘rhythm of life’ which they have developed and follow together. This includes a commitment to:
- Praying together regularly
- Sharing a weekly meal together
- Serving in the local community
- Giving a proportion of their income for the costs of the community and its activities
- Committing to a discipline of personal prayer and study
The Achor Community are joined in their regular prayer times by others from Kings. Details of the usual meeting times are below. If you’d like to come along then please get in touch to find out exactly when and where we’re gathering.
Mondays, 9.30-9.45pm @ Habgood Drive
Thursdays, 7.45-8am @ Laurel Avenue
Fridays, 7.45-8am @ Ash Avenue
Built around the Achor Community are a variety of different community outreach activities in the Sherburn Road area. These are steadily developing as we identify local needs and build relationships within the community. Activities they are currently involved with include:
- Youth Group: Tuesdays, 4.30-6pm at the Pelaw View Centre. Youth group reaching out to young people from the estate, most of whom do not normally attend church.
- Lunch Club: Thursdays, 12-2pm at the Laurel Avenue Community Centre. Lunch Club for elderly and isolated people in the community, set up in partnership with Laurel Avenue and Gilesgate Community Associations.
- Sherburn Road Friends & Neighbours: Befriending and providing companionship to lonely and socially isolated elderly and housebound members of the community.
- Garden Projects: Saturdays (monthly), 9.45am-12.30pm. Supporting members of the community who need a bit of extra help with their garden.
- Community Newsletter: Quarterly community newsletter, Sherburn Road News, to spread positive news across the estate.
- Women’s Breakfast: Fridays, 10am-12pm. Breakfast, Bible Study and prayer for women from the estate and the wider area. It is mainly aimed at those with little or no experience of the Christian faith and the Bible.
- Seasonal Celebrations: Events once or twice a term linked to seasonal celebrations (e.g. Christmas, Easter) to invite local people to hear the gospel.
Ruth Morley works one day per week as the coordinator of the Achor Community’s outreach activities. Get in touch with Ruth to find out more or get involved in any of these activities.
Many members of the Achor Community are part of a church cell group that meets in the area, designed specifically to support the growing faith of those that live in the locality. Hannah Juby and Tom Jorden lead this group.
Achor is supported by a chaplain from King’s Church who looks after the members of the Community in pastoral matters and offers spiritual support for Achor as a whole. This post is currently vacant.
How to Get Involved
There are many different ways that people from the congregation can get involved in the Achor Community, including praying and giving financially.
If you are interested in moving into the area and becoming part of the Achor Community, we ask Achor Volunteers to commit to living in the area for two or more years. People serve the community for an agreed amount of time each week, alongside their full- or part-time work or study and other commitments. If you are interested in finding out more about what this would involved, please contact Becca Hicks.
There are lots of exciting volunteering opportunities if you don’t live in the area, including helping with the community activities. You are also welcome to join in prayer with the Achor Community. Contact Ruth Morley for more information.