Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sutton on Hull

This weekend I’ve gone from coast to coast, and the snow seems to have followed me. Today I made the slow and careful journey along a snow-covered M62 to Sutton on Hull, in the York and Hull District, to share in the 150th anniversary service of the building currently used by Sutton Methodists. There have though been Methodists worshiping in Sutton for over 200 years.

It was worth the journey as I was given a wonderfully warm greeting and it was good to be able to celebrate together not just what has happened over the last 150 years, but also what God might have in store in the years to come.

Following the service I shared in a faith lunch and was given the honour of cutting the anniversary cake. I then headed to the bean bags on the stage where “Hot Chocolate” can usually be found meeting when they leave the morning service.They are a group of 11 to 16 year olds and today they were also joined by the younger church group “Milkshake”. We shared in hot chocolate and a wide ranging chat together. As the stage can be a drafty place they presented me with a fleece blanket, which I thought might be useful for my journey home!

Local minister Rev Keith Borwick then took me to nearby Bransholme, one of the largest council estates in the country and with some of the highest levels of deprivation. We visited the small Methodist Church on the estate which was full with a buzz of activity that comes with Messy Church. We also met with Hull (East) Circuit superintendent Rev John Stanton. The church building has been subjected to repeated vandalism, but the small but faithful congregation continues to meet weekly and the building is also well used by the local community during the week. However they have recently started Messy Church during the week, following the successful example at nearby Sutton, and they have attracted quite a number of new families who wouldn’t otherwise come along to the Sunday service.

For one week only they’d kindly moved to a Sunday so I could join in. The session was lead by Children and Family Worker Julia Gaines, and she was supported by her fiancé Matt who is also a lay worker but in neighbouring Hull (West) Circuit. They’d met at one of the annual Methodist Lay Workers conferences.

The theme for today was the prodigal son, and pigs formed the centre of the craft activities. This was followed by an entertaining interpretation of the gospel story and then baked potatoes all-round. I have picked up from quite a number of churches now about how successful Messy Church can be, and Bransholme was no exception.

1 comment:

John Gaines said...

Messy Church, suits Julia, you should see how messy she is at home!!!!
From her Dad