23rd November 2017

Twice in the past month members of Stanborough Park church have been involved in the opening ceremonies of Co-op food stores in the Watford area thanks to the efforts of Enoch Kanagaraj, a company employee and member of the church's community outreach committee.

The first occasion was on Thursday 26 October when the church's Community Services leader, Pat Walton, assisted by Amanda Powell cut the ribbon with a giant ceremonial pair of scissors in front of the brand-new store in Croxley Green, a large 'village' which is situated between Watford and the neighbouring town of Rickmansworth. Amanda, like Enoch is a member of the church's outreach committee as well as leading the Seniors group which is a fortnightly club for local senior citizens. Also participating in the ceremony were the church's senior minister, Pastor Jacques Venter, and some of the Pathfinders accompanied by their former leader, Florence Allen.

The Co-op movement is a great supporter of the community and donates some of its profits towards local good causes. On this occasion both Pat and Amanda were given cheques for £350. Amanda's cheque is intended for use by the church's Family Ministries department run by Jean-Marc Renard and Sunsiree Renard whilst Pat's cheque was made out to 'Nine Lives', a project which renovates donated furniture for sale to needy families at low cost. It also provides work for people, such as those with disabilities, who would find it hard to obtain work.

Pat is a trustee of the charity which grew from the Emergency Furniture Unit set up decades ago by her father, Alf Kelly, and was run by him until his death. Pat then ran it for several years with the help of volunteers from the church until the local voluntary services umbrella organisation decided it should be organised on a business rather than a voluntary basis.Coop-Croxley-2-opening-group-photo

After the ceremony, Store Manager, Tharshan Ratnasingam said, "We are delighted to have undertaken such a significant investment in Croxley Green, the purpose-built store has a great look and we have received a great response. Our ambition is to ensure the store is a local hub, a real asset for the community. We also want shoppers to know that we are also giving back to the community. Our members also make a difference locally, simply by swiping their membership card when they shop with us they are raising much-needed funding for organisations in their area who contribute to improving local life."

Adventists were once again involved on Thursday 9 November when the church's previous senior minister Pastor Paul Clee, was involved in the opening of the newly-refurbished Co-op store in New Road, Croxley Green's main shopping street. This time it was the turn of two local school children to wield the ceremonial scissors.

Stanborough Park members have been involved in the opening of Co-op stores since July 2015 when Pastor Venter assisted Mayor Baroness Dorothy Thornhill in opening a new shop in the Abbotswood Park area of Watford. On this occasion he was joined by children from Stanborough Primary School with Florence Allen again representing the Pathfinders.

[June Coombs]

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12th March 2018 Messenger vol 123 Issue 05

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