Tuesday, 30 April 2013

VP - in the Liverpool District

No two District visits have been remotely the same this year, so it was with great anticipation that we made our way to Trinity Church, Ellesmere Port on Friday afternoon. An extraordinary journey over the last decade, helpfully documented on Friday by different speakers, has resulted in a church space being opened up every weekday to serve the community, with 50 volunteers a week serving healthy snacks and drinks, working with NHS well-being professionals and the local council - but still keeping the Cross central to all that's going on. Great vision and drive - community and Circuit - alongside huge grace from the senior members of the church, as they seek to meet community needs. We were hosted by Steve and Suzanne Cooper, and on Saturday Steve took us to Hoylake for Synod, where we met up with Jim Booth and Mark Wakelin. The day was largely taken up with discussion about mission (local, national, global) and it was both a privilege to be part of it, as well as extremely stimulating. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next 12 months. On Sunday morning I was planned for Prescot and Whiston, arrived about 50 minutes prior to the service to be greeted by a large number of the congregation! I have rarely seen such a large proportion of worshippers gather so early, but it created a lovely warm atmosphere; and was carried on afterwards, not least by some of the young people proudly showing me their Sunday room, one that they had been allowed to decorate, and awaiting its official opening in two weeks' time. The church was a good example of what can be achieved by two congregations joining together and drawing on each other's strengths. A delicious, if hasty, traditional Sunday lunch with Carole and Jim in Mossley Hill was followed by a journey to the seaside at Southport. At Leyland Road, in cafe style, the three ordinands, Ruth, Ruth and Jan, gave their heartfelt, sometimes emotional, testimonies to a full church of all ages. It was a meaningful end for me to a full week-end where so many, directly and indirectly, spoke about getting out of the church buildings and into sharing and meeting the needs of the communities around them.

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