History

imagehands.jpgIn 2004, whilst working as an ESOL teacher, I met with a friend from another local fellowship, and we discovered that God had given us both a passion to reach the nations in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.  God then gave me the idea to establish Bible and English classes in Huddersfield.  My friend, a local pastor's wife, had had years of experience supporting people from different nationalities.  She had a great excitement about the opportunity to show God's love to people who had come to the UK.

In January 2005, we organised a training workshop, which was attended by around 30 people from five different fellowships in Huddersfield.  Local Christians were equipped with knowledge and ideas as to how to support people in the asylum process.  People were also able to share their own experiences and many gave insights into the projects that they were involved in.  

Following this event, in March 2005, a team of four began what is now known as OpenWORD.  Meeting one afternoon a week, our small group of students were introduced to the Gospel whilst being given the opportunity to learn English at the same time.  The group grew in number as students brought their friends.  The class quickly moved to the newly opened Six One One Centre, which was to be Elim Church's outreach centre in Huddersfield for the next six years. 

A summer school followed in July 2005, which was attended by yet more students from a variety of backgrounds.  In October 2005, OpenWORD increased its provision to five classes each week.  In the summer of 2011, OpenWORD, along with other local minstries, relocated from the Six One One Centre to Oasis Youth and Community Centre in Huddersfield.

OpenWORD now offers three afternoon classes during term time.  In the past, we have also run a number of summer schools and had a weekly Bible and English group for mothers and their young children.  We also ran a 'Kingdom Culture' course that sought to help people live practically as followers of Jesus in the UK.  OpenWORD's lesson materials are also being used in Bible and English classes elsewhere in the UK, as well as being used by groups overseas.

After OpenWORD had been up and running for some months, OpenDOOR was established by a key OpenWORD team member.  This weekly social drop-in attracted students from the Bible and English classes plus others.  This group has seen immense growth.  Around 70 people currently enjoy the opportunity to play games, have a bite to eat, chat with local believers and receive practical help and prayer.

OpenWORD has always been an inter-church project.  It is currently supported by a team of faithful volunteers from different denominations.  These volunteers are involved in the teaching and the learning support of the students, and they often make themselves available for help that the students need out of class time.