Fresh Start is a ministry which is designed to love and support those parenting alone. Fresh Start aims to extend Christian comfort and hope to those parenting alone for any reason.
We aim to give spiritual encouragement and empathy by coming alongside individuals in their isolation as they rebuild their lives towards being in a place of emotional stability and independent living in their faith with Christ.
Fresh Start was founded by Caroline Chalkley, who was a single parent for many years. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 it says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God". It is Caroline's vision to bless others parenting alone with the same comfort that she received.
Caroline leads the group with her husband, Clive, along with Yvonne Ellis. She is aided by a committed and faithful team of caterers and child carers who support and enable this ministry to be a great success.
Fresh Start meets every other month on the second Saturday of the month. It starts at 10.45 am and continues until 1.30 p.m.. Breakfast and childcare are provided.
This photo was taken from our 2018 Fresh Start Retreat.
Below is a testimony from one of the single parents who attended our 2018 retreat:
I felt like I was in a good place spiritually and emotionally, however I was worried about becoming stressed and overcome by anxiety. The school summer holidays had only began, like most single parents, I was juggling work, the extra expenses of summer childcare and trying to find time to have fun with my children and actually enjoy being a parent. I lay on my sofa and said something around the lines of “Lord, daddy, I need a break! I’d love to go on a retreat; but I haven’t got anyone to look after Shaun (my 8 year old son)”. Less than a week later, I was on WhatsApp and a picture popped up in one of the groups I’m in, it was a poster adverting a retreat for single parents. I was sooo excited, thank you Jesus, this is exactly what I was looking for. I knew straightaway that I wanted to go, but thoughts entered my mind that it would be too good to be true and all the spaces would have been taken. I was so desperate to attend; I wasted no time in ringing Caroline. I told Caroline that I saw the ad for the retreat and asked if any spaces were left, there was and I booked up straightaway. I had no clear idea who the organisers were, only that it was something to do with Care for the Family. I had no idea where Ashburnham was or how I was going to get there. I also had no Idea of what the teaching was going to be on; all I knew is that I was going; I had something to look forward to.
It was only when I turned up at Ashburnham, that I realised Fresh Start was part of New Life Bible Church, although on the emails Caroline sent me they did have the New Life Bible Church logo (I was probably just so delighted that I didn’t even pay attention). By the time the retreat came around I was emotionally and mentally tired with life. I was definitely losing grip of who I was and, more importantly, of who God says I am. I said to myself “Claudine, I don’t know what you’re here for, but you're going to be open, so you don’t leave without it".
The retreat was amazing, every single talk spoke to me directly. During our times of worship, I was at peace and the Holy Spirit spoke directly to me during these times, reassuring me, comforting me and filling me with His love. The retreat was only a weekend, but it felt like a week. The Holy Spirit showed up and showed off. Jesus didn't waste any time, I felt myself coming back to life again during every session. My son has also been transformed, I’m not allowed to call my son 'little Shaunie' anymore, he has grown. By being around boys of a similar age to him, Shaun feels affirmed as a strong boy/child of God. We have both been renewed and are moving forward with what God has for us.
The fellowship was equally amazing, everyone was extremely welcoming. I started off knowing no-one and left knowing I had a new family at Fresh Start. My son was happy and safe and everyone treated him as though he was their own.
Thank you Fresh Start.
Dates for 2020
We are trying to reach those who would benefit from this event. We believe it Is God’s heart that single parents know that they are loved in the Body of Christ to become all who Christ has called them to be.
We want to share God’s heart and support those who are called in their churches to take up this role of ministering to single parents and running such a ministry.
We hope you will take the time to be a part of this 2 Day Summit; Friday (Day 1) being Training for Leaders to provide vital education and resources for Pastors, educators, community leaders and anyone who seeks better solutions for improving the quality of life for single parent families in their churches and communities and Saturday (Day 2) is a Single Parents Family Event; for single parents and their kids to be encouraged and envisioned with a hope-filled plan for their lives.
Caroline Chalkley - Single Parents Pastor @ New Life Bible Church
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Caroline Chalkley +44 7748 678166
Single Parenting Summit is coming to England this May!
One in four children in the U.K. are living with a single parent. Whilst there are many challenges to parenting alone, the greatest expressed need of single parent families isn’t food, housing or childcare. It’s emotional and spiritual support. Why? Because it’s lonely and overwhelming to parent alone and there isn’t much help out there. Until now……..
The Single Parenting Summit is a unique event that encourages and equips single moms, dads and kids and trains and mobilises leaders to better serve single parent families. The Summit, which is a US based single parents ministry which began in 2017 in the U.S. is joining forces with Fresh Start Ministries who have been supporting single parents in Harrow for the last 10 years. This event will be held on May 8-9 at Holy Trinity Church in Wealdstone, Harrow, UK, and is open to all single parents and their kids through age 18.
“We wanted to come alongside single parent families to encourage them and help them discover a hopeful plan for their lives,” explains Dawn VanderWerf, co-founder of The Summit and Director of Single Parent Missions. VanderWerf, who was a single mom herself for almost 6 years, is passionate about bringing awareness of this need to churches and the community at large. “One of the ï¬rst places a single mom will often go looking for help is to a church. But only one percent of churches oï¬€er any kind of single parenting support group or ministry. We want to help close that gap.”
“We are excited about partnering with The Single Parenting Summit. Our vision is to reach those parenting alone with God’s love, fresh hope and a new start as they rebuild their lives. We believe ï¬rmly that being a single parent is not your identity but instead a season” says Caroline Chalkley, founder of Fresh Start Ministries and a single parent for over 10 years.
The Summit starts oï¬€ on May 8 with Leader Training that will bring in speakers from the U.S. and the U.K. to discuss the biggest issues facing single parent families and best practices for helping these families prosper. Church leaders working with single parents or their kids will not want to miss this opportunity to learn how any organisation can become more single-parent friendly, and how to start and run a sustainable single parent support program. Cost is just £15 and includes a light lunch.
Saturday, May 9 is a conference for single mums, dads and their kids. The theme is “Made for More” and will include a fun kids program and sessions to help single parents thrive physically, relationally, ï¬nancially, and spiritually. Speakers include Dawn VanderWerf, Summit cofounder, and Caroline Chalkley, the founder of Fresh Start ministries. The Summit will also have a sales area featuring key resources for single parents. Cost is only £10 and includes a light lunch. Space is limited so register soon. For more information or to register, visit singleparentingsummit.net or Single Parenting Summit 2020 on Eventbrite.