Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A day after returning from The Gambia I was with my friend, Keith Davies,(Chair of Manchester & Stockport District) visiting a unique organisation known as CiC - Commitment in Communities.

CiC grew out of the Manchester & Salford Mission and is about capacity building for faith groups. The Chief Executive, Davy Iredale, spent most of the day with us, along with Helen Boardman their DDE. They are involved in numerous projects and initiatives including:
Excell - a resettlement programme for ex-prisoners and offenders.
Community Chaplaincy - working among ex-prisoners living in the community.
Quality Living Scheme - working with vulnerable people
Community Safety Network - 1500 members working with local community and neighbourhood groups, Greater Manchester Police and Manchester City Council - and it often concerns'low level crime'
Learning Skills and Development Network - English as 2nd language, Big issue.
Refugee and Asylum Seekers
Moston youth project...and much more

We talked about a range of issues and how CiC helps faith groups get a place at the table when policy issues in communities is being duiscussed.

We spent some time with the people running EXCELL and heard more about this particular project. They offer 26 week paid placements for ex-offenders helping them in the re-settlement process. We met two people who through this organisation have set up their own computer re-cycling business

One of the youth projects is based at Moston Road Church and we went to visit some of the church people there and heard of how this very successful scheme was envisioned and been running for the past year.

the room above has been given over to the young people from the community and there was some fabulous art work and stories of how the congregation are supporting those working among the teenagers and young people.

Later on we met with the Methodist students studying at Luther King House which led into a meal for District staff and folowed by a time of the Vice-President and myself sharing our reflections of where the church is at this time...with lots of questions to follow.

We were very pleased to be able to visit the offices of Methodist Insurance - a few weeks before they move to their new location - a couple of hundred yards down the same street! We spent time with the General Manager, John Coates, Paul Rowley (head of Operations) and some of the Trustees.

It was good to spend time meeting with the staff who are involved in the huge task of putting all the paper data into software on the computers. At the moment Methodist Insurance insures 99% of all Methodist churches and manses in the UK and Ireland (what has happened to the other 1%??) They are keen to continue improving the services they offer, working as an independent company in partnership with Ecclesiastes and the Baptists and despite the recession seem to be in a helathy financial position. A little known fact is that over the last 5 years they have gifted £3.7m to the Methodist Connexion.

We walked to Manchester Central Hall where David (VP), Keith and I spent half an hour with Cris Acher at Nexus. This is a wonderful new expression of church being a real presence in the heart of the city among young professionals, young adults living in the city and the wider night club scene. The basement area has been transformed into a very successful cafe/restuarant which has recently won an award and is often full and a hive of activity at lunch time and in the evening.
then we went upstairs to spend time with those who work in our connexional property offices and TMCP. They continue to serve our Church so well and it was encouraging to hear of the new provisions for property consent and the way the staff of TMCP are responding to the untimely death of Neville Johnson.

Please pray for all these people (Methodist Insurance, Nexus, TMCP and the Property Team) as each of them are seeking to live out their faith and calling through serving the Methodist Church.

In the afternoon we went to spend time with Kevin Ball (left) and Kennedy Bedford (right)

at Manchester Airport where they are both chaplains. They are part of a multi-faith team who are funded by the Methodist, Anglican and Roman Catholic church, Manchester airport plc, SSP catering and others......They told us some fascinating stories and it is clear that this chaplaincy is highly valued by the authorities and all those passangers and staff they care for through the weeks and months of each year.

On the Friday evening we went to 'awaken' - a District youth event at Rosehill Methodist Primary School

There was a great band from Ivy Cottage.....who brought some dancers -

the organising group had worked so hard and transformed the hall

there were various activities

with a graffiti wall

and even a time to ask the Prsdident and Vice-President those questions you've always wanted to know the answer to...

the first one animals go to heaven!!!?

It was a great evening but the real sadness was that there were so few young people there - I want to say a really big thank you on behalf of all those of us who were there to Helen Bell and Helen Boardman and their helpers who did such a fantastic job.

On Pentecost Sunday morning I had the privilege of being with the the people of the High Peak Circuit in the newly built Disley Church.It is a wonderful story of how this lovely church came to be built - it was a packed congregation on a beautiful hot day....and after a great time of worship there was a real feast in the hall afterwards.......

Keith Davies (Chair) David Philo (super),me and Nic Bentley

The evening service was a District Pentecost Celebration held at St Peter's Chaplaincy centre in Mancheter University and there was a great crowd of people - we worshipped and celebrated together and cut a cake for the Church's birthday.

This is David's home District and it was wonderful so many people came to welcome him back home.

Please continue to pray for all those within the Manchester & Stockport District.

1 comment:

Moira Biggins said...

Good to see that the President and Vice President visited Manchester Airport Chaplaincy. Airport Chaplaincy is a flourishing form of ministry in the UK and world-wide, but not well-known.

Rev Dr Moira Bigggins (one of six chaplains at East Midlands Airport)