Sunday, 27 September 2015

Linking Heritage and Mission at Bishop Street, Leicester

This amazing 200 year old Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, in the heart of Leicester, has a new lease of life thanks to the vision and sheer hard work of the people of God in this place. 
I was delighted to open the new Heritage Room.

Richard and Mary Gill in the Heritage Room, with Chair of the District Peter Hancock, and minister Fran Rhys
I am so impressed that they have had the courage to knock down the back wall and open up the worship space, which retains its WOW! factor, but is now part of a thriving space, with a café accessed from the street, spaces to chat, and there was even a lunchtime Bible Study going on.
The café provides training to help people get into work, and the writing on the wall says it all:

Every person is equally valuable and so we want every person to feel equally welcome … whoever you are.
The CHAPEL CAFÉ is somewhere people can meet, rest, have a chat, warm up or chill out, as well as enjoying good food and drinks that offer good value.

We hope your time here is good for your spirit as well as your body. We use ethical and locally grown products as much as we can. What’s good for others is good for us.’
The way that ‘old’ and ‘new’ have been combined is a real inspiration. Attractive story boards invite people to explore Leicester’s rich Methodist heritage, and a banner proclaims ‘A warm welcome’:
God has been worshipped in this building since 1815. Methodists believe that God cares for all people and God’s love can be fully seen and known in Jesus. Worship and service are our response. All are welcome in this place’.
The next challenge is to raise the money to restore the amazing 18th century organ.
The cherubs are a feature of the organ
I pray that the work here will continue to be blessed, and the love of God shared, as it was with me. Thank you!

1 comment:

Fran Rhys said...

Your visit was very encouraging. You got us thinking about how far we have wandered from the Wesley brothers' rigour and vision, and how inspiring their pattern can be. You especially highlighted this from your recent visit to Peru, where young people from age 12 are asked to give voice to their testimony. Thanks indeed for your visit during the church's 200th anniversary year.