the story so far

Who are we? Where are we going? When did we start? Where have we journeyed from? Here’s some background to help you navigate through a whirlwind couple of years.


It all started towards the end of April 2009 with a new vision.

It was of a sacred space – visually connected to its purpose of intercessional worship and prayer.

This was the first glimpse of the Sanctuary – a house of prayer and worship with a particular emphasis on poverty, justice and intercession. A place where world and worship could meet. Read more about it at

But there’s a back story too long to tell…

It involves a much longer journey of two Christian friends passionately seeking God and learning more of his heart for the poor, the broken and the nations.

It unites Liz’s experiences of working for Christian Aid and Watford New Hope Trust with Jill’s background of working for an environmental charity and in property management.

And it brings together the challenges of leading prayer and worship in local church and larger settings, with writing resources for churches from wide-ranging church backgrounds for national charities.

It’s the kind of story that starts to make sense only when you look at it backwards – with a sense of God’s overview, and the context of community that only he can build.

Back to 2009

A period of prayer, fasting, and seeking wide and wise counsel marked the spring and early summer as we tested the vision, and sought to confirm whether it was for now.

During the later summer and autumn, research, planning, and thinking in more detail helped test the vision more practically, and gave us a few ideas about how it might come together – whether organically, or more suddenly.

The winter saw Liz released through taking voluntary redundancy to leave her job at Christian Aid in order to take forward the next stages of the Sanctuary – scary but exciting.

In 2010…

…the pace picked up again. In January, it was confirmed that it was the right decision to re-locate to the Leeds area – to build links and prepare for the next steps. Jill transferred her job from the London office to the Leeds base.

All along it had felt right that the Sanctuary be located in the geographical heart of the UK – rather than near London – but such an early move was a surprise. (Since then it has become very clear why it was necessary, and has been such a blessing.)

We have been so blessed by our new church community and by many people from our old one, as well as friends close to us, who have kept affirming God’s call on us during this season. Thank you!

By the end of April, the re-location to Yorkshire was complete and Liz was feeling overwhelmed by God’s provision through the releasing of freelance writing and editing work to her at exactly the right pace and in exactly the right amounts to fulfil her financial needs (but whilst still keeping enough time free to keep moving forwards on the Sanctuary).

The main focus of this period for Liz was to establish extended daily times of prayer and worship, and learn the basic production skills required to record her songs herself (enabling them to be made available freely and quickly).

After a trip in July to see a friend working with poor communities in Bangladesh, September saw the start of concerted work on writing and building the website – – including collating, writing-up and recording many existing worship resources.

Through most of the autumn and winter, we photographed, formatted, wrote, built and recorded so that the website could launch in early 2011 with the majority of our existing resources.

We are on course to launch later this month, making all these songs, prayers and ideas freely available to people in the wider church who want to worship and pray more in the context of the poor, the broken, and the nations.

And now here we are at the start of 2011

And we’re looking forward again.

Later in February, we’re launching our website – and its worship resource section (also available directly at

On 19 February (Waterloo) and 12 March (Tunbridge Wells), Liz will be leading two workshops on worship and justice for Christian Aid. Find out more about the London workshop here.

Daily prayer and worship times in response to news headlines, and current needs will continue, and once the website is live, songs, prayers and other resources will be written and made available to you within a very short turnaround time.

For now we will both continue to work in our current jobs, as these mean we are both able to support ourselves  financially whilst still continuing to move the project forward step by step.

The next steps…

Feel like they are beginning to become clear. And so we are prayerfully seeking confirmation about the way forward.

At present the Sanctuary’s main focus is on consolidating and making available the songs, prayer resources and ideas that we have already developed on a longer journey, and on creating more.

We are also building relationships, praying, and listening for the next steps towards establishing a permanent physical home for the Sanctuary. At the moment we are exploring the relative strength of two approaches to this – either to build organically by first opening a prayer room in a house which larger numbers of people can begin to use, or to seek to open the full physical centre from the start.

We will keep you posted. But please remember us in your thoughts and prayers meanwhile.

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