Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Missionaries in Yorkshire

Going from Lancashire into Yorkshire I had a wonderful seven days in the York and Hull District meeting many missionaries from across the Pennines as well as some locals (who were very friendly). It was a very imaginative programme and I was able to meet a real cross section of people. I met with the lay workers at Ambleforth abbey for a Quiet Day. Listening to those who were there I continued to be encouraged that more and more circuits are seeing the potential of creative lay worker appointments which complement the ministry of ordained colleagues. A CDIM Day enabled me to be with a large number of presbyters and deacons from across the District. Sharing together about leadership in our changing Church seemed to meet a real need among those of us who were there.

I was deeply impressed by a new initiative of the Methodist Church inH axby. Here they have created a 'state of the art' coffee shop costing about £465,000 to purchase and fit out. In their eighth week they Aroma Coffee Shop was full when we entered and there was a real buzz. As I chatted to Cameron, the minister, people began to leave (nothing to do with us!) and by the time we left it was filling again as people came for lunch. The shop has a really good ambience and recently has ahd a brilliant review in the local paper from 'the mystery shopper'.

They have struggled with how to evangelise. 'What makes this coffee shop different from any other?' They have begun in the early weeks with some imaginative ways including being a collecting point (in the window) for the Christmas Shoe Box Appeal and then later inviting people to tie a ribbon on a bare branch during the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday. It would be good to know how other such expressions of church are tacking this particular issue.

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