Friday, 27 February 2009
Here is the smallest circuit in Methodism with around 45 members and the only one which owns no church buildings!! There are still 5 Methodist communities who meet in various places within their localities...the largest congregation in Alston shares the local Roman Catholic Church on a Sunday morning. It has also allowed them to explore new ways of being church and they shared with me their very successful town nativity play in the open air which was a great success...they are also now using the local primary school to offer worship which attracts people who want something more family friendly.....
Richard and I stopped at yet another farm shop for lunch on our way to Sedburghj and David has already shared about this fascinating visit. I was at their church on the Sunday and had a wonderful time both in worship and meeting many of the poeple over a lunch, raising funds for a mission project. I continue to be amazed at the sheer dedication of so many people in our churches who live out their faith in such tangible ways. My visit ended at Cockermouth where I shared in a great circuit service and met people from my past and countless people who know people who knew.......
and this is one of the gifts of our church that we not only seem to know people but it comes with a great sense of love and care........thank you for the love and care shown to Davbid and I as we travel around this year
I arrived earlier in the week and my first engagement was with the minister, spouses, supernumeraries and widows in Keswick. there was a really good turn out and it was good to see some familiar faces....it's interesting how Chairs are using the visit of Presidents and Vice-Presidents in more recent years ...there is such a variety in the way we are used and it has been good to have such gatherings like this in some Districts as it is a quick way to guage the temperature of those in ministry.
There was a common theme for this Cumbria visit....food! Richard Teal, the new District chair, is a great lover of locally produced food so we found our way to a number of farm shops during my stay. We had a lovely lunch at one such farm on the way to Workington with the superintendent minister to meet with the principal officer for Workington Regeneration...this gave us a good overview of plans to bring renewal to this depressed area of this west coast town...but with the recession beginning to bite it is even more needed now...
We then drove to Silloth where we met with some of the crew of the local lifeboat along with the chaplain.....before I knew it I was all dressed up and having photos taken for the local paper and being invited to be with three other crew members as they launched the lifeboat....it was an incredible experience and a real privilege that they were willing to share this with me.Just when I was enjoying the open seas I was suddenly asked to drive the lifeboat....endangering everyone...but thankfully we did manage to arrive back safe and sound.
I am filled with admiration at the dedication of the men and women I met and many others around our islands who are willing to risk their lives to save others
The following day we went to Ambleside to visit the new Parish Centre which is jointly owned by the Methodist and Anglican Church and is both a cantre for outreach and a home for the Methodist community. They boast the most beautiful view for any congregation as they worship in the whole of Methodism!!...and the congregation has grown considerably since they moved to their new premises.
We went to spend some time with the chaplains at the Ambleside site of the new University of Cumbria and then went for mid-day prayers with the Rydal Hall communjity and met many people from around the world who have come to spend a year or so living and working in this retreat house...and we shared lunch with them.
Then onto Barrow where we spent a fascinating few hours visiting BAE systems and were shown around the site where nucleur submarines are being built. Here the local deacon, Tom Luke,(on the right of the photo along with the superintendent and circuit steward) is offering an important chaplaincy and they way we were welcomed showed a deep respect for all he is doing.
our final visit that day was to Hartington Street Church where a group of people from the church decided they needed to engage in outreach to their community where there is so much need. They now hold their 'Tea Club' every two weeks and about 30 people regularly attend as it offers a lovely hot meal, a place to meet and usually a guest speaker at the end....and I discovered this weas me in the middle of the meal. Most of the poeple who attend used to have some contact with the church or are in need in some way...here was a fresh expression of mission at its best
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
This reflected the welcome we received all around the District and we were particularly grateful for the warm hospitality offered us by Susan and Richard Teal.
An historic item - no, not Deacon Eunice Attwood but John Wesley's clock!
Brunswick Church is one of the historic sites of Methodism, a Grade II listed building dating from 1820 and a successor to Wesley's Orphan House buit in the City in the Eighteenth Century.
I was warmly welcomed at the morning service where the music was enhanced by the Salvation Army Band and songsters.
Former President Ian White with his wife Diana (pictured below) were among the congregation.
Friday, 13 February 2009
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Intl
Our Lent study pack, What does the Bible say about changing the world?, has inspired a series of exclusive interviews to be broadcast by Premier Christian Radio.
Premier's Sunday Breakfast programme (8-10am) will feature stories about everyday heroes - ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, with examples taken from the Bible and MRDF's overseas work. Listen live between
22 February and 12 April. You can also download extended programmes, including short sermons by Reverend Stephen Poxon in March and April.
Find out more and order your free pack
Premier Radio - 1305, 1332, 1413 MW, DAB in London or listen online
Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Intl