Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gloucestershire - Cornerstone and Cinderford

Today I have been in Gloucestershire Circuit where I have shared in an augmented staff meeting, visited the ecumenical Cornerstone Centre in Cheltenham and travelled to the Forest of Dean to visit Cinderford Methodist Church where long-awaited work has begun to transform the building in order to resource mission.

The Gloucestershire circuit is one of the largest circuits in the Methodist Church in Britain. It is large in numbers of churches and members and large in geographical area as it encompasses nearly all of Gloucestershire. When I joined the staff and members of the Circuit Executive they shared some of their visions for the circuit and I was able to share my theme for the year - Waiting expectantly for glimpses of glory. It was a good time of fellowship in which we were joined by the Chair of District, Revd Ward Jones.

We then went to another area of Cheltenham to visit the Cornerstone Centre. This centre was opened 10 years ago having been built after the nearby Whaddon Methodist Church was destroyed in a fire. The Centre is attached to the United Church of St Michael, an Anglican/Methodist Local Ecumenical Partnership. This is a centre which serves the community in many ways.

 Among the facilities and activities here are a laundrette which is well used by local people, a computer room, the chiropody service, and the community room. Lunches are served here and there are regular cofee mornings.

Here you can see the Manager of the Centre in the laundrette at Cornerstone
 Care and Share is a good as new shop which has been run for about 20 years; it began in Whaddon Methodist Church and continues at the centre.

Jerry and Pat are volunteers at the centre and run Care and Share
The centre depends on the many volunteers who commit their time and energy here. I talked with them and we shared lunch together. These are people who seek to represent the presence to Christ in their community.

The volunteers gathered at Cornerstone. In the front row is Revd Ward Jones (L),  Revd James Tebbut, Superintendent Minister (R) and Revd John Turner minister at St Michaels (2nd L)

Next we went to Cinderford Methodist Church in the Forest of Dean. It has taken 9 years for the people here to get the necessary permissions for the essential work that needs to be done to make this building fit for purpose. But the work has started, the scaffolding is up and inside has been stripped out, leaving a blank canvas full of potential and possibility.
Rays of hope inside Cinderford church - A glimpse of glory
Inside Cinderford Church - ready for new beginnings.

We gathered in the church hall to eat tea, to talk and to share in a brief act of worship.

The sunlight came in through the stained glass window and transformed the piano into a rainbow of promise.
It was a special privilege for me to be able to greet two local preachers for whom this is a special time. Ken Sollars celebrated the 60th anniversary of his accreditation as a local preacher earlier this week and Adele Garner is to be authorised as a local preacher on Sunday. We owe a great deal to our local preachers and these two had wonderful stories to tell, their faithfulness shone out - another glimpse of glory.

The people in Cinderford have waited a long time for their plans to come to fulfilment and now they are waiting expectantly to see where their journey with God will lead them.

Tomorrow I will leave the Bristol District to travel to London and then to East Anglia, I will travel expectantly.

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