One Mission Forum 2016

A key theme of the Forum concerned Migration and Asylum seekers. Here are some of the stories that came from the Sheffield District

Stories of Asylum seeker work:-

Only The King’s Cross Church, Hexthorpe, Doncaster has reported any work in the district with Asylum seekers. Since 2001 there have been over 150 baptisms among Iranians. It is quite a mobile population, many moving on and only some are known to link up with churches once they leave Doncaster. The work needs much discernment as to which asylum seeker is genuinely seeking God in Jesus Christ (Isa e-Masih). TKCC’s ICF staff help all that come sometimes with going into court with them and sometimes with basic needs. The fellowship has some stable families now and one long term family has sent the elder daughter and her child to Manchester to work with a major Iranian church and leader – a vicar in the Anglican system. They hope she will return trained to work with the TKCC’s Iranian Christian Fellowship. They are involved with a national umbrella group based in London; there are probably well over 40 mostly independent fellowships across Britain now. TKCC is unique among Methodist churches in having this congregation. We also have a scattering of other nationalities in the English congregation and a Slovakian congregation also meet in our premises.

Doncaster Circuit in the person of Rev. Ian Rutherford, has dialogued with the town council and prepared the way for the town to receive Syrian refugees as and when the government allows any from the Jungle near Calais or any others through our borders. [Birmingham as also so prepared as the Methodists again have been catalytic in the process.]

There must be other churches in Sheffield but I only know of Eastwood Mission, Rotherham now known as the International church centre there, and Barnsley has occasionally had Iranians and other asylum seekers. Considering Sheffield is the first City of Refuge among 40 churches nationally to bear that title, it is surprising I have not heard of more.

 

Other reports of Missional Activities

Bolsover Circuit

The main Methodist Church here hosts the Freedom Community Project. They provide 100s of food parcels and supply support to many families in a rural district of East Derbyshire. I have received a long account of their thorough work in that area.

Chesterfield Circuit

Christians Together for Chesterfield have worked out a way to do evangelism together that is acceptable to all parties, whether ‘evangelical’ or ‘anti-evangelical’ or post-evangelical.

A business card has been designed which has a clear image of the crooked spire on it, plus the website and facebook and twitter feeds of CTfC.  On the reverse, there is space for a ‘local contact’, with a line to take an address, phone number or email or whatever.  The idea is that, when a house is newly occupied, whether new-build or sold and bought, or newly rented, it is visited by anyone from any of our 24 congregations.   The card can be left, with a contact item on the back, even if no one answers a knock or ring.

The value is that the card does not plug any one church, and the recipient may well be intrigued with ‘Christians Together’ and want to know more.  We are told that 1000 households change hands in Chesterfield each year, and there is quite a lot of new-build, either up already or planned.

It would be possible for two eager beavers each to deliver a card to the same house, but we accept that risk, and if they each leave a phone number or address, our new resident has a choice.

The website for CTFC speaks of our work with Street Pastors, School and the Foodbanks.  It is not too much to hope that there will be some responses.  One church warden, moving house within the area, but unaware of the scheme, was very pleased to be welcomed to her new home and rang to say so.

Paul King, Chesterfield

 

Doncaster Circuit Reports on Missional activities Oct 15-16

Auckley is planning a sheep trail for Christmas and has relit its building up, working with the primary school and so a community feel is growing.

Cantley, the biggest membered church in the circuit, hosted the Mission Weekend with David Frizley coinciding it with the Easter offering held at Sprotborough Park. This led to the biggest attendance and offering for some years. MWIB is active in these churches too. Quiz nights do attract non-Christians’ spouses as does Carol singing.

Flintwood, an elderly congregation has at least started a Knit and natter group; one contact from CAP has joined that.

The King’s Cross Church Hexthorpe: Many aspects of work are ‘missional’.  The missionary interests are wide – from Pakistan to North Korea, to the Sahel and Middle East. The Shoe Box appeal of Samaritan’s Purse operates with the local school and other local groups contributing.

Our Engine Room [equivalent to Messy church -crafts for all the family followed by a ‘celebration’ with story and songs, and a meal for all, attracts 80 people each month, mostly non-churched people.

We have weekly Children’s work – for all age groups; then monthly there is a Men’s Chill out night including activities at the Keep Moat home of Doncaster Rovers; quarterly a Men’s brunch with speakers giving testimony of how Christ has transformed them, Quiz night, a Ladies’ Curry & Comedy night, as well as regular events around Christmas, Easter, Harvest. Our Pentecost in the Park had all 4 of our congregations – English, Iranian, Slovakian and Zimbabwean, join together in praise in 4 languages.

Sprotborough Park Church invited Dr Claire Smithson of Maua Hospital along with Barbara the teaching nurse [retired]; they hosted Tim Baker of All You Can and raised funds for that. They have also revitalised their outreach though the Playgroup again.

Thorne has held the knitted Bible for the public to view, held Harvest inviting schools in, and is recommencing Open the Book in schools; they have a connection in a pub that has led to  9 baby baptisms providing openings for explanation of the Good News of Jesus.

Tickhill has recommenced its Messy Church. Many groups use its facilities; how to integrate these with the proclamation and demonstration of the Good News is to be worked in.

 

The Peak Circuit:

Bamford Methodist Church has:

  • a film afternoon once a month open to all in the village or elsewhere
  • pastoral care beyond our own members
  • occasional coffee mornings in support of e.g. refugees united with the Anglicans and Catholics
  • support for the community- owned Anglers Rest pub where a service is held annually

Ruth Willis  (steward)

 

Sheffield Circuit

Stocksbridge Christian Centre (different from Christ Church Stocksbridge) is a small LEP founded on the Whitwell Estate in 1978.  From 2 years ago, we began a project called ‘Sowing Seed on the Whitwell Estate’ which is attempting to reconnect the church with its community.  We have received Methodist and Anglican funding for 3 years for a full-time outreach worker, appointed from January, 2016.  Through a local Stocksbridge trust we received two tranches of funding to install data projection and a sound system in the sanctuary and the church hall.

We have been engaged in the following activities.

1) refounded the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades.

2) established a Friday youth drop-in called The Hanger.

3) started a men’s chat group in the Red Grouse pub next door called ‘Grouse and Grumble’.

4) are now holding a four month Season of Invitation to invite people to a church service, starting in September with a puppet service led by Saints Alive !  from Woodseats Methodist Church.

5) established a Monday lunchtime discussion group in the Stocksbridge High School to discuss issues and values, and now working with them for a project to help Syrian refugees.

6) the Outreach Worker works weekly in two of the four schools surrounding the church.

7) work closely with the RE teacher at the Stocksbridge Junior School on project work for Years 4, 5 and 6.  Craft work has been done on themes of Advent, Easter and Christian values which are displayed in the church and advertised in the local newspaper.

8) hosts a fortnightly Tuesday Lunch Club for retired and shut-in people. (since 1986).

9) hosts a Saturday morning coffee morning (since 1978).

10) hosts Saturday charitable coffee mornings, afternoon lunch and other events.

11) hosts an annual community memorial service for deceased relatives and friends.

12) hosts an annual community ‘Songs of Praise’ of songs and readings on a theme to raise money for a charitable purpose.  In 2015 funds were raised for Nepal disaster relief which had gone out of the news, and in 2016 to support ASSIST Sheffield.

Emeritus Professor James H. Grayson, (email) j.h.grayson@sheffield.ac.uk