Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Old and New in Calderdale

I was invite to visit Calderdale Circuit, to see two unique and exciting mission projects.
First to Mount Zion Methodist Church. Founded in 1865, it has a magnificent interior and the largest collection of Wesley memorabilia I have ever seen! I really liked the smiling John Wesley! he usually looks so severe! Joined by some members of the circuit, we shared a time of quiet reflection and prayer together in this historic place. Mount Zion welcome local schools for a heritage experience.



Then to the new! The Busoasis, which is a mobile outreach resource for the circuit, offering IT training, children's activities, prayer stations and much more. Being mobile, it can go to new places and reach people for whom traditional church would be unfamiliar and perhaps intimidating.

Young and old in the South East

On the Sunday afternoon and evening of my visit to the Hastings, Bexhill and Rye circuit, I joined in an all-age worship workshop at Pett Methodist church. There were many activities on offer: crafts, drama, prayer writing, dance and movement. The theme was the coming of the Spirit, and the way the Spirit brings colour and life. In the evening the workshop members presented the worship, and I preached the sermon. The congregation filled the little chapel to bursting point, and we had a great time of worship together.















On the Tuesday, I met members of the Anna Chaplaincy team, who seek to promote spiritual wellbeing amongst the elderly. And I had the privilege of meeting BobWeighton, who told me the fascinating story of his life as a missionary in Taiwan before the Second World War. At 107 years old, is he Britain's oldest Methodist?


Cornwall

My visit to the Cornwall District began with a day at the famous Helston Flora Day. We watched the dancers in all their finery process through the village streets and in and out of various buildings, including the Methodist Church where I was there to welcome them. Fortified by a (real) Cornish Pasty we then went on to the historic site at Gwennap Pit to meet the Management Committee. As every tourist does, I am sure, I had the pleasure of standing where Wesley stood to deliver his sermons to the gathered crowds!


Diaconal Convocation

It was good to spend some time with the Methodist Diaconal Order at their annual Convocation 5-9 May. I have met a good many deacons on my travels and it was lovely to see them again and catch up. Last summer at Conference I had the pleasure and privilege of being at the Diaconal Ordination; I had got to know the ordinands prior to this by joining them on their retreat at Ampleforth Abbey. This year the same group were officially welcomed into the Order, so it was like welcoming old friends!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Two Church Anniversaries

On 3rd of May I went first to the Deepings Methodist Church where they were celebrating 135 years of Methodist worship on that site and 25 years in the present building. The celebrations began on the Saturday evening with an excellent concert by singer/songwriter Paul Field. I was thrilled when Paul offered to sing again in the morning service. Later he and I had to cut the birthday cake!



























Later on that day, Elton Methodist Church were marking the 150th Anniversary of their church, although Methodism in the village goes back much further; the first chapel was built in 1816! Rejoice and be glad!


It was a privilege to share worship with both of these societies at such important stages in their work and witness.





Wednesday, 29 April 2015

With Julian in Norwich

I have been a fan of Julian of Norwich since I was a teenager; I first read her book 'Revelations of Divine Love' written in the late 14th century, when I was 17, and it has been a source of inspiration to me ever since. The chance to visit her shrine and cell whilst in Norwich for my District visit to the East Anglia district was a real thrill.

I spent some time with the priest in charge of the shrine, who explained that Julian was neither a nun nor a hermit, but an anchoress who was sealed in her cell with one window opening onto the church, from which she received the Sacrament, and another opening on to the outside thoroughfare, through which she offered counsel, spiritual, material and common sense to whoever came.

The priest said 'She was a lay woman, following a lay calling, for lay people.'  I felt my heart strangely warmed.

Old and new in Mann

Sometimes it's difficult to know what to pick out from all these fascinating and informative district visits to pick to blog about! Here's two snapshots from the Isle of Man.














Old - the chapel at Agneash has a long Primitive Methodist Tradition, and was open for a Heritage Day when we visited. Other events such as a Primitive Methodist service were planned for later in the month. Great to take in the unique atmosphere of generations of worshipping people in this place.




 New - I was invited to share in the Youth Service at Promenade Church in Douglas.
The service, entitled 'Don't hide your light under a bucket' included crisps and drinks,

a game, discussion, and a chance to reflect prayerfully on letting our own light shine in the world. Then an interview with me - the boring bit, I'm sure!