Young Methodists change and challenge the Church at 3Generate
About 250 Methodist young people aged between 8 and 25 gathered together last weekend (15-17 November) at the Pioneer Centre in Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, for 3Generate 2013, the Methodist Youth Assembly. Together they made important decisions which will affect the life of the Church.
The theme was the call to love God, love yourself and love others (Matthew 22.34-40; Mark 12.28-31).
In different sessions they engaged with issues such as stress, conflict, bullying and self-esteem, as well as focusing on the Street Child World Cup, mental health and forgiveness. There was also a chance to speak out about issues relating to life, community, the world and the Church.
Alongside this there were acts of worship, diary room sessions, graffiti boards and animation to capture the young people’s voices, as well as activities like archery, high wires and parachute games.
During the weekend Megan Thomas from Kerry, Powys in Wales was elected as the Methodist youth president for 2014-2015. She will represent children and young people within the Methodist Church and speak out on their behalf. About her role, Kerry said, “I want to help the Methodist Church use one of its greatest resources, which is the youth. I don’t want any Methodist young person to feel that their age silences them.”
BUCKING THE TREND – A BRIGHTER LIGHT ON THE HIGH STREET
At a time when many bookshops, particularly Christian ones, are closing; one independent shop is bucking the trend.
Illuminate Christian Books, in the centre of Shrewsbury, continues to thrive in its remarkable old building on Wyle Cop, selling Christian books, music, gifts and more recently opening a large and popular second hand book section.
However, only in 2010, after over 50 years trading, the shop faced closure. Determined to maintain their bookshop, local Christians raised over £50,000 to buy the business and now own and run it as shareholders.
Andrew Pattison, Chair of the Board of Trustees, told us,
‘Our success in recent years has been built on the support of local Christians who ‘shop locally’. We also work with an increasing number of churches, who we support through bookstalls and the supply of cards, books and other church supplies.’
The staff, including many volunteers, also benefit from Shrewsbury’s tourist trade. Christine Coleman, the shop manager, explained,
‘Particularly in the summer months, we get many visitors who are thrilled to find a Christian bookshop, often telling us how their local shop has been forced to close.’
Illuminate is still looking to work with more local churches and is holding an open evening for church leaders on Thursday 23rd January 2014 to encourage more to work with them. Andrew Pattison explained;
‘It really is a case of use us or, eventually, lose us, as we depend primarily on trade to pay the bills. As well as very often being able to match the price of certain very well known internet retailers, we provide a local service to local churches, something we would love to do for far more congregations. I, for one, want to see a local Christian presence continuing in the High Street for a long time to come and hope may local Christians will join us to make that possible.’
For more information, to book or find out more about the Open Evening call Illuminate on 01743 233657.
It is not very often that a church is asked if they would like a new kitchen – for free, but that is what happened last summer to Cleobury Methodist Church, a dozen folk in a rural market town of just a few thousand. After some significant risk taking themselves during the past few years the offer was felt to be confirmation of the ongoing life and future ministry of the congregation.
The church hall had in recent years been a base for part of the work of the St Mary’s Youth Project – originating with the parish church but now separately constituted. Back when the new minister met the new youth worker the dream of a youth café/hub was born as the only evening gathering points in an area with no evening transport is outdoors or pubs.
When the local Housing Association wanted to invest some of its tenant support in the area the youth project was approached. The café dream was discussed and the housing association offered to bring in their contractors to enlarge and renew the limited kitchen area of the church hall bringing it up to current standards and capable of fitting more than one person in!
In August 2013 the youth and church folk stripped out the old kitchen and an internal wall before the professionals moved in. The hall which was largely built by church labour 30 years ago was then redecorated by youth club and church members, with new lighting and ceiling based speakers added by the electrician turned youth worker.
Nov 2nd saw the official unveiling of the finished result, and the launch of The Hub, with 3 after school sessions and 2 evenings a week to start.
As well as the youth hub the congregation are planning other community projects with the new facilities, in continuing partnership with other churches and groups in the town. Thanks go to South Shropshire Housing Association for the build and kitchen fit, and thanks also to the Hereford Diocese and Wesley’s Café in Ludlow and the Police Commissioners grant schemewho have each given grants to buy everything from major appliances, to more youth friendly crockery and café style furniture.
A young Methodist has been selected to sing the official 2013 Poppy Appeal single, which she will perform in front of the Queen – and six million TV viewers – on Saturday evening.
Charlotte Mellor, 17, is one of The Poppy Girls: the first all-girl group formed from Armed Forces families. She is also the daughter of the Revd Paul Mellor, a Methodist chaplain in the Forces serving at RAF Cosford in Shropshire.
Charlotte, who attends The Leys – a Methodist school – in Cambridge, appeared on the BBC One Show and BBC Breakfast television programmes this week. On Thursday she sang for the Prime Minister and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Number 10 Downing Street. The Poppy Girls single is called “The Call (No Need to say Goodbye)”.
“My faith is utterly important to me,” Charlotte said. “Something my dad taught me a long time ago was that God doesn’t love war, but he loves us and that’s extremely important to me, especially during the time of Remembrance.”
The Poppy Girls group was formed following a worldwide search within the Armed Forces community. More than 1,000 hopefuls entered a competition to win a spot in the group, which will perform in front of HM The Queen at the Legion’s prestigious Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 9 November.
Charlotte’s dad, the Revd Paul Mellor, said: “Remembrance Day for me is very personal. During my time within the military, I have had to deal with a number of families who have lost sons and daughters. I think of those families who are still suffering. It is a very poignant moment where we all stop as a nation to reflect. Sometimes, even in the midst of conflict, there is hope. We also think about those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice within that service.”
The Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference, will be attending the Cenotaph Remembrance Day Service this Sunday. She said: “It will be my privilege to represent the Methodist Church at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday where I will be standing with others to remember those in the forces who have lost their lives in war and in service to this nation. We also remember those currently serving in the forces, including those appointed as chaplains. The Methodist people remember and pray for all who suffer because of war and violence and we long for peace.”
Would everyone using the internet please be aware that if they get a phonecall from Microsoft purporting to have found an error on their machine and offering to fix it if we hand over control of the computer to them by fixing something called Windows Event Viewer, this is a scam.
They will play around with Events Viewer once they have gained access then ask for hundreds of pounds to safeguard the machine and if you don’t pay will activate viruses they themselves have installed, which means having to have the computer completely rebooted.
This is a nasty scam because it sounds so plausible. .
Please circulate this to as many computer users as you can, especially churches as these are being targeted at the moment.
Study day for Local Preachers and Worship Leaders
Saturday November 16th 10 30 am – 12.45pm at Wem Methodist Church
Led by Rev Dr Neil Richardson
Topic – the Gospel lessons for Advent 2013
Coffee will be served from 10am onwards, and again at the end of the meeting for anyone wishing
to stay and share in informal conversation. Please bring your own food.
The Revd John Howard will give his presentation on his experiences in the West Bank earlier this year, at Church Stretton on Thursday 24th October, 7pm for 7.30. He went as a human rights observer with EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel). This event has been organised by Shropshire United Nations Association and is open to everyone interested in people and events in the Holy Land. If you missed the meetings at Ludlow or Wem, this is your chance to hear the story first hand. Letters and pictures from the West bank are on wsmeth.org.uk.
Cafe Church, an ecumencial venture in Shrewsbury town centre, will be meeting on the following dates: 9th October, 13th November and 11th December We meet at 7.30pm – 8.30 pm in the Shrewsbury Coffee House, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury (near the Station).
Cafe Church aims to provide for those seeking a more spiritual element in their lives an informal opportunity to explore Christianity.
If this could be you, why not come along for coffee and a chat in a friendly relaxed setting?
Experiences of a Human Rights Obsserver in the West Bank.
You are invited to hear Revd John Howard speak about his experiences as an Ecumenical Accompanier in the West Bank.
Thursday 19th September at 7pm – Ludlow Methodist Church
We hope you will be able to attend this special evening.