Around 1990, when her late husband Andy `retired’ from ministry, Judy Barker began making a few cards to give to her friends, the words and artwork were prayerfully chosen to bless the recipients with encouragement from God’s word. Judy worked in black ink using a pen or a fine brush and doing all the lettering by hand.
Over the years she created more cards & started having a few printed to sell locally. All her designs were printed in either green or sepia. Awareness of her unique cards and the blessings they brought spread through church contacts mainly in the Church of England and the requests for cards increased from further and further away. As the ministry grew, age and failing health forced Andy & Judy to decide to close it down in 2004. Andy died 31st March 2010. Through our work with Marriage Encounter we were a customer and received a letter informing us of their decision. We said “that’s a pity” – God said “you could do something about that”- The thought that we should approach Andy & Judy would not go away, so after many weeks of prompting I telephoned & a meeting was arranged. I often describe these events like pushing at a large old oak door with one finger; but it opened as only God’s well oiled hinges could enable. So only a few weeks later we were driving back down the motorway from Derbyshire to Berkshire with Cards of Encouragement filling the rest of the car. We knew it was God’s will, we also knew only He could provide the time & ability we needed to revive & build on the wonderful ministry that we had just taken responsibility for.
Since then we have added new ranges of cards & added colour to some of Judy’s designs. Some designs have also been made available as coasters, fridge magnets, postcards, book marks etc. You may also now follow us on Facebook. Now thousands are blessed each month as God has continued to add His blessing to Judy’s willingness to offer her talents in His service for others. More recently we have introduced some cards based on artwork by Christine Coleman, mainly in our Occasions range.
October 2012 we moved to Appleby-in Westmorland in the beautiful Eden valley, situated between the Lake District and the Northern Yorkshire Dales national parks. This was a clear leading by God & we look forward to entering in to His unfolding plans for us in our new area. In 2014 we opened a self catering lodge & B&B so you will be able to come & stay with us!
Check out your perfect holiday base at The Hollies.
A new chapter is now beginning in April 2019 as we hand over the reigns to Mike Hart and his team at Gospel Cards etc. We believe it is God’s timing for us to let go and pass this ministry on to new hands who will take it forward as we have done. We pray our Lord will continue to use this ministry to help His family to bless one another and bring others into the knowledge of His saving grace.
So come on – Who do you want to encourage today?
Wishing you every blessing in Jesus’ name,
John & Jan Hall