Tuesday, 1 February 2011

VP visit to the Bristol District

Gloucester Street Pastors
The Bristol District visit began with the Gloucester Street Pastors as they commenced their Friday night shift from 10pm-4am. It was good to experience a different location to Newcastle upon Tyne where I volunteer as a Street Pastor. Whilst the streets were quieter than Newcastle (thankfully) the work is clearly much needed and valued by the clubbers, security staff and Police.

Gloucestershire Circuit Staff Pub lunch
Lunch and lively conversation .........in a pub somewhere between Gloucester and Bristol?

Hanham Methodist Church - Chat Show
Theresa and Jessica hosted a fun evening in chat show format with myself as guest being interviewed on the role of Vice-President, Methodism and Young People, the difference between Presbyters and Deacons (a frequently asked question) and Methodisms vision for the future. In between the interviews we were treated to music from a young peoples Gospel Choir and Rock band.

The Early Bird Service at Longwell Green Anglican/Methodist Church
Look carefully at this picture and see just how many 'birds' you can spot in the form of soft toys. This is the 9am very successful 20 minute service designed for small children and held monthly at Longwell Green. As they enter the church all the adults and children are offered a soft toy bird all of which make a noise (with actual recordings of birdsong). A short service follows with music, prayers and a story followed by refreshments. Around 30-40 people were present many of whom attend regularly, it was just great to see something which catered specifically for families with very young children.

Bath Methodist Church

At 10.30am we joined Rev Rachel Borgars and Chair of District Rev Ward Jones as several of the local Methodist congregations came together for worship and lunch.

Westbury-on-Trym Methodist Church

Sunday evening in Bristol found me at Westbury-on-Trym joining the congregation in worship. My colleague and our host during our visit to Bristol Deacon Gary Hoare led worship and I preached.

Trinity Anglican/Methodist Primary School, Portishead
Meeting the Headteacher Mrs Karen Sancto and the enthusiastic staff and pupils of this new school (only three years old) was great fun. Telling a story during Assembly I asked the pupils if with an accent like mine they could guess where I came from a young voice immediately replied 'the church!'

Kingswood Methodist Independent School - Bath

It was a real treat to visit Kingswood School for the first time, where we were warmly received by Revd Mike Wilkinson,School Chaplain, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and the HeadMaster, Simon Morris. We shared a delicious lunch with the staff and students pictured here. Founded in the 18th Century by John Wesley, Kingswood provides education for pupils aged 3 to 18 years. The school has a Christian ethos believing that each person should be uniquely valued and their God-given gifts and potential nurtured and developed and that no person should expect to live his or her life without reference to the needs of others.

The Southside Project

Southside is an independent charity supporting families in their communities in Bath and North East Somerset (BANES). In the centre is Penny, Director of the Project alongside Jane Parsons, a trustee of the Project and local Methodist member who also runs a shop in the local Methodist Church which works alongside Southside. Penny and Jane are both inspirational women whose passion, energy and commitment enthuse others to join in and support communities that others find easy to ignore. The Southside Project offers family support, domestic abuse advice and advocacy, community based groups and counselling.

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