Max and Glynis Wiley, from Life Church Sheringham, recently formed part of a team visiting the Eaton family in Coeur de Grâce Lille. There wasn’t a very clear agenda for their time, but as they found out, sometimes prayerful presence is worth more than a fully planned programme…


This was new for us: a weekend in France visiting pioneers Roger and Georgina Eaton and Coeur de Grâce Lille. We had some prophetic encouragement, but honestly weren’t quite sure what we would be doing there. The notion of ‘supporting’ a growing church seemed a bit unfocused, so we spent an evening with Jon and Nicky Beardon to glean what we could from their recent visit, prayed, left it with God, and bought Eurostar tickets. Our son David (King’s Norwich) went with us, and Marie Reavey (Wellspring Dereham) was booked to teach the church about personal evangelism.

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It soon became clear why we were there: we felt an instant heartfelt rapport with the warm and welcoming Eatons, and our shared values and sense of family were, we felt, the truly important things. It was a short weekend, but still it was a bit of a wrench to leave, and it reinforced to us the importance of the ‘relational’ ethos of our family of churches.

As well as time well spent with Roger and Georgina and their children, we enjoyed worshipping with the church, and sharing a meal and lots of laughter afterwards. Coeur de Grâce Lille is building on strong foundations of loving Jesus, word and worship, spirit and discipleship, and of course grace: it was such a privilege to see the work, and to hear about developing links with New Ground and Catalyst in France. We came away with plans for ongoing prayer and a special sense of connection. And Lille is an awesome city!

If you’re thinking of visiting a pioneering family but aren’t sure what you can take into the situation, may we recommend prioritising relationship and being open to God’s leading rather than thinking you necessarily need an agenda? Sometimes just prayerfully ‘standing with’ is a valid aim.

Our intention and hope was wholly to bless, but we came away feeling more than blessed ourselves.