The President of the Methodist Conference visited our District this weekend and enjoyed worship and learnt how we are reaching out to people beyond our church boundaries.
Revd. Sonia Hicks arrived in Sheffield on Saturday where she attended a Mental Health Conference held at Wesley Hall in Crookes. The conference took place during Mental Health Awareness Week and aimed to expand knowledge and understanding about mental health and the challenges people are facing.
Revd. Hicks was the guest preacher at Bolsover Methodist Church in the Derbyshire North East Circuit, as it held a rededication service following major renovations on the building. She also preached at Grove Street, Retford in the Trinity Circuit as part of the 200-year anniversary celebrations.
On Sunday and Monday Revd. Hicks visited community projects which are reaching out to those in need of God's love. The Oasis Fellowship at Victoria Hall is a growing ecumenical city centre mission and the community of around 30 – 40 people is made up of those who wouldn't attend a traditional church setting however are now turning to God and helping to support one another.
The Terminus Project in Lowedges provides a whole range of support for the diverse communities on the estate, from mental wellbeing and food parcels, to pastoral care and the creation of a fellowship group.
Revd Hicks also visited a parent's group at Greenhill Methodist Church which aims to reduce isolation and she also learnt about the growing Persian Ministry within the District. Before leaving the District, Revd. Hicks met with the charity Who Is Your Neighbour which facilities safe space dialogues between communities which are experiencing change.
Revd. Sonia Hicks said: "I've really liked being in the Sheffield District, there's been brilliant sunshine, and the work I have seen is an attempt at the Methodist Church to shine God's love on the people and places it doesn't usually reach.
"I visited a Mental Health Conference at Wesley Hall in Crookes where people were trying to deepen their knowledge about mental health and the challenges people are facing, as well as understanding how God cares for the whole person.
"At Bolsover Church there was a rededication service following major work on the building and it was great to see so many families and children joining in the that celebration.
"I've done a lot of worship and each time it was special in its own way. In the very traditional setting of Grove Street Church, Retford, they launched Walk with Micah as part of their 200-year anniversary celebrations. Then at the Oasis at Victoria Hall, they are shining a spotlight on Gods love for those the church doesn't usually reach. Seeing people praying for one another, and the testimonies shared were powerful.
"In Greenhill I spent time with a parent's group which aims to reduce isolation and allows the children to play and in Lowedges people are facing different challenges but are all held in Gods love.
"From what I have seen the Sheffield District is reaching out beyond church boundaries to those who are really challenged. Sometimes it's with the help of Ecumenical partners, but it's always about intentionally sharing Gods love."
Revd. Gill Newton, District Chair said: "It was a pleasure to host the President to the District this weekend and to be able to share with her some of the exciting missional work that is ongoing as well as highlight some of the challenges that we currently face."
Revd. Sonia Hicks also appeared live on BBC Radio Sheffield on Sunday morning to talk about her visit to the district and also about her faith journey. You can listen again here fast forward to 1:15:00.
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