The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Loraine N Mellor and the Vice-President, Jill Baker, blog about their year of office which began on 24 June 2017. Read about the places they visit, the people they meet and the issues that concern them.
Saturday, 29 July 2017
Loraine and I crossed the Irish Sea (separately) yesterday to make our first joint district visit- to the Isle of Man. Various people of the Isle of Man have been woven through my life story (and I am very glad to have a Manx daughter-in-law) so this is my fourth visit to the island, Loraine's first.
We were welcomed at the airport by chair of district, Richard, and Ruth, and went first to Balagarrey Methodist Church, a small chapel with a big heart. A recent extension gives wonderful views over beautiful countryside and there the members meet to pray at 7:30 every morning.
Their prayers are prayers of blessing, blessing the community around them, blessing all with whom they come into contact, yesterday blessing us. We were moved and very grateful - What a wonderful start to a visit!
Our next call was at Manor Ark on the Pulrose estate where community worker Panda explained to us how this former police house has been leased by the church (for a peppercorn sum) and is being developed as a youth and community centre.
Located as it is right next to the primary school, immediately opposite the Methodist chapel and right at the entrance to the estate it is in a prime position and we heard exciting stories of the ministry unfolding there.
Yesterday evening we were taken to the area around Tynwald Hill, adjacent to the Royal Chapel which is home to the Manx parliament, believed to be the oldest continuous parliament in the world having celebrated its millennium in 1979. The Celtic cross of the national war memorial looked resplendent in the evening sunshine. We gathered across the road at St John's Church hall with around 70 members of the island's churches to share in a delicious meal after which Loraine and I did a sort of double act, sharing something of our role, something of our hopes, some of our stories then hearing and discussing questions from the floor. There are challenges ahead for the Methodist Church in the Isle of Man (where aren't there?) but we were heartened by the love, faith, vision and prayer we met yesterday. Jill.