Julie Cotterill loves what she’s been doing as a Fresh Expressions Lay Minister at New Cross Community Church Sutton in Ashfield for the past four years - and once a month she and her team run Messy Church in Hillocks Primary School.

“I enjoy seeing people being transformed from non-churched to waking up to faith and seeing them become disciples and serving God,” says Julie. “ It’s really challenging but so rewarding to be able to walk alongside people who are struggling to manage on very little money, but also emotionally and psychologically too.”

Apart from a few teenage years in America when her family emigrated to California, but didn’t settle, fifty-three year old Julie has always lived in Mansfield. As a child she lived opposite St John’s Church and attended Sunday School there. Upon returning to the UK she continued at St Johns and joined a CYFA Youth Group, where on a holiday to the Isle of Man, she gave her life to Christ.

Julie met her husband, Steve – who is curate at Annesley – through a college friend when she was 18 and they got married at St Johns in 1986. They have three children, Rebekah (27); Matthew (25) and Bethany (17).

She completed the Diocesan Certificate and for a while worked as a teaching assistant at Sutton Centre Secondary School, which dovetailed into her position as Children’s and Family Worker at New Cross.

“I felt God leading me along a path, accompanied by people like the Revd Tim Mitchell and others who encouraged me to pursue Fresh Expressions Ministry.”

Around 50 children come to Messy Church and enjoy making things, scripture, prayer and interactive talks, having tea together and singing songs. Currently winter woollies, hats, gloves and scarves are being provided through Sharewear in Nottingham: https://sharewearclothingscheme.org/

Julie says: “I’m grateful for the Growing Disciples Mission Fund as we don’t have much money and without it we couldn’t do what we are doing.” The fund recently provided a freezer for food donated by Tesco for the Messy Church teas.

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