Friday, 21 February 2014

More than Pork pie and stilton

Melton Mowbray claims the title of the rural food capital of England and is the home of pork pies and stilton cheese. I sampled both when I visited the circuit last Monday (February 17th) and both were delicious.

I began the day by meeting with Revd Jane Carter and Revd Kevin Ashby. Jane is the Superintendent Minister of the Circuit and Kevin is the Rural Dean, they work closely together in the area and as we talked it was clear that working ecumenically is the only way to further mission in this rural area. This was no surprise to me, as you may have realised I am committed to ecumenical working and it was good to see it here. The models of working differ according to context and in some places it is easier than others. The important thing is that in this circuit and deanery they are seeking to plan and to work together and with other churches to make the best use of human and material resources for the kingdom.
Sage Cross Methodist Church, Melton Mowbray
 After the conversation with Jane and Kevin we went to Sage Cross Methodist Church and Community Centre in the centre of Melton Mowbray. Here I was given lunch and I sampled the local produce and enjoyed the hospitality of the circuit. I met with members of the Circuit leadership Team and talked with them both informally and in a question and answer session. Among those present were Deacon Dawn Canham who has been stationed in the Circuit from September 2013,  supernumerary ministers who continue to play an important part in the life of the circuit and lay leaders including Local Preachers and Circuit Stewards.
Lunch-time in Melton Mowbray
From Melton Mowbray, Jane took us to visit Upper Wreake Methodist Church which has two centres in the villages of Frisby and Hoby - one church with two buildings each of which are important centres in the community.
Methodists and Anglicans work together i the churches of the Upper Wreake

Hoby Centre
I went to the Hoby Centre first where the refurbished church is a centre of worship and also the meeting place for the Monday Club children's group, a weekly craft class and a fortnightly coffee morning and internet cafe. Ivy Woodford is one of the Church Stewards and is well known in the village, she was able to tell me a lot about the history of the church and also about the ongoing mission here.
At the Hoby Centre with Janet, Margaret, Jane, Ivy and Peter
Frisby Centre
We then went to Frisby where another of the Church Stewards, Janet Norburn, is also the family and youth worker. Lay leadership is vital in our rural chapels and also, I believe, in our urban and suburban centres. It is so important that we train and support our lay leaders well and when I meet them I am often reminded of the excellent training scheme for lay pastors in Bolivia which I wrote about in my blog in August. So much can be achieved when circuits are commited to training and supporting lay leaders to work in partnership with ordained colleagues so that all can use their gifts appropriately.  In Frisby the disco lights were still illuminating the worship and community area from the disco that had taken place at the week-end.
Inside the Frisby Centre, you can just see the disco lights shining on the front wall
In Upper Wreake we were joined by Vic Allsop the County Ecumenical Development Officer for Leicestershire. One of the things Vic wanted to say was that often it is the Methodist churches that have the better buildings for community use in rural areas and that he hoped that we could work together to realise the mission opportunities they offer. In Upper Wreake the partnership is working well.
Another question and answer session in the Frisby Centre. On the left is the vicar, Revd Peter Collins, on the right is Revd Peter Hancock (District Chair) and next to him is Vic Allsop County Ecumenical Development Officer. Deacon Dawn is in the centre front and Revd Jane Carter (Superintendent Minister)in the centre back.

Melton Mowbray is so much more than pork pies and stilton cheese.

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