Steve and Meena Ridgeway
“The support of Mission Housing is absolutely essential to our ministry.”
Sanderstead Evangelical Church in south Croydon is reaching out to families and young people of its multicultural community. Through its committed congregation and varied ministries, God has grown the church over the past two years.
Steve and Meena Ridgeway took on the leadership of the church in 2012. 'We have seen an influx of younger families joining us,' says Steve. 'Most of these come from the immediate locality.' The church has also seen a shift from having a predominantly white congregation to a more multicultural mix, with people from Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Iran, Jamaica, South Africa, South India, and Sri Lanka in regular attendance. 'A young mother from Brazil who lives near the church with her partner and two children contacted us to ask if she could start attending our meetings,' says Steve. 'She has recommitted her life to Christ and, as well as regular Sunday attendance, has recently begun a church discipleship class.'
A key part of Steve and Meena's involvement with the church and local community has been their need for a home. Not only do they need somewhere to live but also a context in which to minister to people. 'Some of these folk we meet have experienced disappointments in life such as divorce and failed relationships, and many require regular hands-on-support from myself and Meena - hospitality in our home is a crucial part of our ministry to them.'
Plans for the future include setting up an informal English language course for some of the international members of the congregation and an after-school club for primary school children, in the hope of building bridges with more local families and single parents.
There are also plans for Meena to use her skills in family support work and social care within the church, developing the one-to-one counselling for single parents and women.
Mission Housing helped Steve and Meena buy a property close to the church by providing a fixed sum of capital as well as raising funds through external investors. 'The team were immensely helpful and supportive throughout the process of buying a home,' says Steve. 'The support of Mission Housing is absolutely essential to our ministry. Through them God has made it possible for us to stay long term in one place for the duration of our time in south Croydon.'