Monday, 1 November 2010

Wolverhampton District Visit

Here are some highlights from our recent visit to the Wolverhampton District organised by the District Chair Rev John Howard.

As we travel around the Connexion, we are very appreciative of the hospitality offered by so many people. During our visit to Wolverhampton John and I stayed with Deacon Ann Shephard and her husband Tony, who looked after us with great warmth, kindness and generosity for which we were deeply grateful.

On our first morning we gathered at Dawley Christian Centre where I met and chatted with the Deacons whilst Alison shared in conversation with the Presbyteral Ministers.

Reaching out to the pubs and clubs in Cannock

Pictured here with Deacon Ann Shephard, Rev Antony Hick and his wife Rossalyn and Student Deacon Georgina Brook, I joined the Cannock Churches Together team distributing tea/coffee/soup etc from 10pm-1am. The team stand near the pubs and clubs opposite a taxi rank every Friday/Saturday evening and are highly valued by those they serve.

Reaching out in the Marketplace.......

In the market town of Stone, St Johns Church wanted to reach out to their community, they contemplated renting a shop but the expense was prohibitive so instead they decided to run a monthly market stall on the High Street selling cards and Christian books. Every month they give items away from balloons to Christian booklets and mince pies at Christmas.

Here I am alongside a member of the team. This Saturday's gift was a flower with the greeting, 'You are a unique, unrepeatable miracle of God-God likes you and loves you.' The team commented that many people are astonished at receiving something 'free.'

Reaching out through walks in the countryside......
In Trinity Church, Stafford a coffee shop is open everyday but on Saturdays they allow other groups to run the coffee shop and keep the money! Here I am with a member of Bishops Offley Church who were running the cafe on this occasion. Bishops Offley is a very small rural chapel of around 12 people who have started to engage in outreach by leading walks around their local area and providing food for the walkers when they return.

Saturday afternoon found us all at Great Wyrley Methodist Church for a session led by Revd Antony Hick. Antony recently attended a study tour in Jerusalem and presented his experiences, after which Alison reflected on the report accepted at Methodist Conference this year on Israel/Palestine.

On Sunday I joined Shifnal Methodist Church alongside the Chair of District John Howard to share in morning worship. The premises have recently been refurnished and the congregation here are exploring how they might reach out to the surrounding community, they are already doing some great work with the MHA Live at Home scheme.

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