Tuesday, 13 November 2012

VP - in Lancashire

What an encouraging week-end! A Thursday evening meeting with some of the emerging leaders that I was with at the Birmingham week-end in September, now planning their own 24 hour event in the District. A morning with Methodist Action NW, a new charity looking to respond to needs in the community not presently being met; acting on local authority referrals mainly; in partnership with local churches, using church buildings/space not being fully utilised. It was imaginative, creative, risky. I visited the hostel for homeless men in Fox Street, Preston and work with asylum seekers/refugees in Blackburn. "When Lord did we see you...?"(the photo shows the Methodist Action team with Rev Yvonne Pearson)
A couple of hours in Brinscall joint Methodist/CoE junior school was a life-affirming, joyous visit. An excellent assembly led by Year 6 on 'Remembrance', clearly dedicated staff led by Annette.Then on to Clitheroe Church for Together on Fridays, an all-age (3 weeks to 90+)event, held every other week, starting at 4 with activities and games; a sit down meal (with a wondrous choice of puddings!), and then an all-age activity (see photo)
and finish at 7. We felt very much included in the 'family' nature of it all. Saturday morning was a prayer breakfast, focusing on praying for the World Church. This was followed by a discussion with some of the District mission teams going to Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea and Uruguay in 2013. A longish morning was rounded off by a visit to Deepdale MC and the end of their coffee morning/lunch. Couldn't quite fit in a visit to Ewood Park to watch Birmingham City play, but the evening entertainment was excellent. Stephen and Myrtle Poxon had obviously put on a District party for my visit, but Joseph (newly 18) clearly thought all the presents and guests were for him! It was such a happy evening, young and old playing ridiculous games! Great fun, excellent food. Sunday morning I was planned for the joint RC/Methodist Church at Nelson, just getting there in time to bring greetings to the RC congregation, before coffee, before the time of Remembrance and the Methodist service. A brief talk over soup and rolls before heading off to Pilling which, I was told, is the second largest village (I presume by area) in England. What is the biggest? We had a wonderful spread for tea, over which about 30 of us had a discussion about the importance of 'rural ministry'. Some very helpful thoughts. And then a Circuit service in the church itself, proudly coming up to its 200th anniversary. A District visit exhibiting lots of life, some excellent ideas and innovation; in a context of faithful witness over many years. Stephen and Myrtle's leadership will be reaping benefits for many years to come.

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