Altitude Mission is a team effort, bringing together many different people and organisations with years of experience
We are about Mission. There are so many ways we can do outreach:
Ski Angels - helping people home safely from the slope bars
Chairlift Prayer - chatting and praying on chairlifts
Apres-ski bars - building relationships with seasonnaires
‘Open House Nights’ at Chalet Altitude - inviting new-found friends to share in a meal at our chalet
Pop-Up Church - taking an informal church to the slopes
ESC Méribel - a more recognisable church service in the Meribel chapel
24-7 prayer room - covering Meribel and all we do in prayer
Crisis Beds - Giving support, a meal, and a bed to those who need it
Finally we want to be open to God’s prompting and go where the need is
Altitude was born out of prayer, and a desire to be warm!
In March 2016 Will was walking down the road, praying to God asking Him what He wanted him to do in Meribel and he saw the door to the little chapel was open (the door is usually always closed). So Will walked in and met the key-holder. From that conversation, and a connection with CORA (Christian Outreach in the Alps) Will & Lara opened the English-Speaking Church in Meribel in January 2017. There were 6 people on that first Sunday, and although the congregation grew a little during the season, with so few people in an uninsulated stone chapel, we were very cold. We needed people to fill the chapel. What better way, then to start a mission whereby Christians could come and stay in a chalet, do mission in the mountains, and help us run the church, and fill it with body heat! And so Altitude was born. We also later found out that one of our congregants had been in Meribel in 2006 praying for revival in Meribel. This was more than 10 years before we started Altitude, and before Will and Lara were even thinking about becoming Christians - God answers prayer in extraordinary ways, and sometimes we just have to be patient.
So we’ve been running the English-Speaking Church for 3 winter seasons, and last season (18/19) we opened the doors to Chalet Altitude. God has blessed us in so many ways (see our blogs for some amazing God stories). And although we’ve had other ideas, it’s been very clear when an idea has God behind it. So last year, we started Ski Angels, Pizza & Beer, Ski & Serve mission trips. Next season we are launching Altituders, hoping to start a Pop-Up Church on a Sunday morning at one of the slope-side bars, and continuing with the success of Ski Angels and Pizza & Beer nights. We just want to challenge perceptions about what people think of God and Christians. We want to be salt & light in our community, to be counter-cultural, to be Jesus’ hands and feet to our fellow skiers and snowboarders. Amongst all the great “God moments” there have been some real challenges and tests but we trust God to be with us at all times, and we just love being in the mountains, serving the One who created it all.
Chaplains come out to resort for a one or two-week stint of preaching in the church and providing pastoral care in the community and in Chalet Altitude. Chaplains live with us in Chalet Altitude, so there will be many opportunities for good conversations. Next season’s chaplains include Lindz West of LZ7, Martyn Layzell of HTB, Julio Abraham of Derby City Mission, Gordon Hickson, and Kev Murdoch of Euston Church.
Skiing – if you’ve signed up to do the BASI ski instructors training course, then New Generation will be providing the ski lessons. They are an international ski school operating in 18 ski resorts across the Alps. They have been in Meribel since 2001. All the instructors are qualified to the highest internationally recognised level and many are BASI examiners. Or if you’ve signed up to a BASI snowboard instructors training course, which will be run by Parallel Lines, through SnowSkool. We have worked closely with Parallel Lines since we started in Meribel 19 years ago. And SnowSkool have been running instructor courses for 15 years.