New Ground February 1, 2018
In January 2017, Kings Church Eastbourne launched Love Eastbourne; a way of blessing the town, with ‘no strings attached’. It’s based on Random Acts of Kindness and the idea that generosity is infectious. We wanted something that the whole town could join in with and pass on; that was really easy, lots of fun, and that challenged our reserved British nature.
To date, it’s been all of those things. We’ve had lots of great stories and seen it spread outside our church and engage the community:
“Thank you so much to the kind person that posted this through my door. I don’t know who to personally thank so hopefully you will see/read this. I am completely overwhelmed that you thought of us, let alone did this. It has really touched our hearts xx”
“Wow! Thank you. I just came home to find a beautiful plant and a ‘Love Eastbourne’ token on my doorstep.
Life has been really tough over the last few months and to think that someone took the time to think of me has moved me beyond words. Thank you to whoever took the time to care. You don’t know what a difference you made to me today. I will pay it forward. I promise.”
The concept is simple: find a way to bless a stranger, friend, colleague or neighbour. It could be through an anonymous gift, an act of service, through business (if you own one) or by stepping in and making a difference at a key moment. Using the Love Eastbourne token, the recipient is invited to ‘pay it forward’ and bless someone else. They can join in or simply enjoy receiving the gift.
Some left generous tips at restaurants, others paid for a stranger’s parking. Some gave away chocolate, and others paid for people’s haircuts in advance. The stories that came back were fantastic. Here’s a couple more:
“I was out with a friend for dinner and she shared how her boss got given some flowers today with a Love Eastbourne token and how blessed she felt. Then talking to her boyfriend, he shared that his friend was out walking with his son and they found £10 on the floor with a token, which they couldn’t believe someone had left for them.”
“I had a meal bought for me and my wife with the token so on way home I blessed the bus driver with all the money in my pocket and passed the token on.
Last year it was amazing to see a lady saved after we had been ‘loving Eastbourne’ for ten days. At a time of difficult personal circumstances, she was given a Love Eastbourne token with a bunch of flowers by a neighbour, while at the same time, her husband was in town looking for a parking space and found a token with money in a parking meter. When he came home they both realised they had been independently blessed by Love Eastbourne. This led to this particularly lady going on a journey of looking at the Christian faith and she was baptised last Easter.
We’ve loved hearing all the different stories, many of which you can find these on our Instagram account.
This month we presented the idea to 500 children in a local school and had an incredible response; each of them queued up to get their tokens, excited to get involved. On the back of this, other local schools have contacted us and requested a similar launch.
All in all, we’ve been really excited at how this has worked so far, and we’re working on new ideas to develop and expand the concept in future. We’ve been contacted by other churches who are interested in adapting and running the initiative in their own towns.
If you are thinking of running the initiative we’re very happy to share editable artwork, advice and resources. Contact Sam Arnold.
To find out more about Love Eastbourne visit www.loveeastbourne.uk
Source: New Ground