Friday, 26 November 2010

Methodist City Centre Network Conference (MCCN)

Every two years the Methodist City Centre Network hosts a conference in Swanwick bringing together those who work in city centres or large towns. I have been a part of this Network for the last nine years as a result of working at Brunswick Methodist Church in the vibrant city of Newcastle upon Tyne. The conference provides a great opportunity to meet with other city centre practitioners ordained and lay to share the joys and challenges of working in this environment, listen to seminars and worship together.

Rev Dr Pete Phillips is the Secretary of our Faith and Order Committee and Director of Research for the Centre for Biblical Literacy at St John's College Durham.

Pete began our sessions on Tuesday morning looking at John 1: Embodied mission in a digital age. We were encouraged to reflect on how we might use the digital world which we are now all part of to communicate the gospel and share the story of God in the emerging and constantly developing environment of the digital world.

Revd Lucy Winkett has recently been appointed Rector of St James Piccadilly in London after nearly 13 years at St Paul's Cathedral where she had responsibility for music and liturgy. In her session 'It's like Piccadilly Circus around here...where is the God of peace in a chaotic world?' Lucy explored some of the issues and challenges of the modern city and the ways in which we as a church can remind people of a different way of being and valuing each other.

Revd Peter Hancock is currently chair of the Northampton District and was previously chair of the RUN -Reaching Unchurched Network. Peter shared his belief that new pioneering forms of Church can be a prophetic sign to the Church as a whole of the future that God is leading it to. He advocates the non-denomination, non party all in it together for the Gospel and the Kingdom ethos of RUN.

Phil Summers from APPLECART joined us for an entertaining session describing his work. APPLECART is an arts project which uses storytelling, music, drama and visual arts to explore the richness of the Gospel with a twenty-first century audience. Normally performing in an East London pub they are amazing - if you ever get the opportunity do go and watch them, they share the Gospel story in a unique style with integrity and passion.

After I led a seminar called 'Sex and the City' based around some of our work at Brunswick with vulnerable women Revd Paul Smith and I led our final act of worship, sharing Holy Communion together.

This service symbolised for me all that the Network is about, meeting with each other centred in the God who in Christ gave himself for us.

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