Gypsy Community Peacemeal

A Gypsy Community Peacemeal

One evening we gathered, a group of us ladies, to explore the culture and the man of Jesus. Our group consisted of Romany gypsy women, an ex-addict artist, a silver smith, a social worker and a foster carer. All these women have geographical connection, but were in different places in their seeking.

Some of the ladies are long term friends that I have kept for over 20 years, since the days of the local church doing ‘outreach’ to the local gypsy site and some houses on our estate. Over the years, I have had cups of tea, attended weddings and funerals, taught some of them to read and write, laughed and cried with them.

I have kept close bonds and connections with the local gypsy people. I love these people. Their culture and families have taught and educated me and my husband Steve in so many ways. They have looked after us when we have been struggling, they have loved our kids and we are very grateful for these special moments.

In the last year or so, some of them have begun again to seek faith, find answers and sometimes use God to get them out of sticky situations! This was the reply from one lady who I invited to the meal:

“I need it more than you could imagine, all out of faith and searching without finding.  Need a different direction and that’s me, woman, no men, at yours, where I can be me without ever feeling judged for who I am, what I am, where I live or for what’s happening in the rest of the gypsy population!”

That night, we started our evening with an agreement that we had come to share, learn and intentionally discuss the man Jesus. We ate food and drank lemonade as we began to tell our stories and ask our questions.

The evening was a beautiful tapestry of confession, laughter, tears and honesty. One lady told her story of finding God through a Catholic nun, who had cared for her during her addicted days. Another told of a visit to a spiritualist to contact a dead relative. Another told of her reasons for shoplifting and how she felt bad – once speaking it out, she vowed to stop.

Gypsy Community PeacemealThe daughter of one of the ladies asked if she could read to the group from my Bible – she had no idea what she was reading but she read with such passion! The group discussed what it meant and each contributed at their own level and space, listening intently to the others seeking.

Candles were lit to represent our prayers and hopes. These included prayers to stop stealing, stop getting angry and to live in peace. Honest challenges were received as topical discussions were had, including some exploration of traveller beliefs and superstitions.

Steve joined us later, and we were both so wired when our guests left, and so excited about this journey! Peacemeal fits perfectly for me and this group of people… they will never ‘attend church’ but they are keen to be in on what Jesus is doing and pay it forward.

After that first evening, we met a couple of times like this: always eating food and always accepting anyone who came. We’ve included children, too, with the kids picking the concept up easily and feeling a special connection around the table.

Thanks to Holly Grover for this story.

Inspired to start your own Peacemeal group?

Wherever you are, whoever is in your community, you could start a Peacemeal too! Go to our Starting a Peacemeal page for ideas and advice.

One thought on “A Gypsy Community Peacemeal”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *