What in God's name is the Deacon doing?
Part 1 of a report on the ministry of Deacon Tim Coleman in the Runcorn section of the North Cheshire Methodist Circuit: 27th January 2020
Keeping you informed on how things are progressing
We have settled well into our new home, although we are still trying to find time to hang pictures and create a workshop space in the garage for Helen's glass fusing. The re-ordering of life, finding the new rhythm to the days and weeks as we settle into new patterns of work, home and family life is taking longer but we are getting there. Our family grew in November with the birth of our grandson Jude, plus 2020 looks to be a year of weddings as we have 3 of our offspring getting married. It is also my parents 60th wedding anniversary this year.
The development of new work.
Because my post is new there is no pre-existing work to pick up, just a blank sheet and an outline of the mission objectives. So it was nice to have something fall into my lap in the first week, something not planned for, but completely appropriate: an asylum seeker's drop-in at Halton Trinity.
Asylum Seekers Drop-in
Initiated by the 'Churches Together in Runcorn', Halton Trinity were approached to host and a number of our members are involved working with volunteers from across the churches in Runcorn. Before the end of September, we had started with a group of eight asylum seekers meeting on a Thursday morning. Numbers have grown and fluctuate between 20 to 30 each week. As well as lessons in survival English, we offer a soup lunch and donations of quality clothes, bedding, food and mobile phones (Asylum seekers often have very little, often having just the clothes they landed with, and they receive £5 a day to survive on).
Shopping City Retail Chaplaincy
One of the mission objectives was to re-establish the chaplaincy at Asda unfortunately this has not been possible. I then contacted the management team at Shopping City who have been very supportive and appreciate my presence in the shopping complex on a Wednesday, 10-4. It has proved to be fruitful – it has resulted in several pastoral encounters, some with vulnerable people needing encouragement and signposting to appropriate organisations, as well as some very deeply spiritual conversations. I am exploring how this ministry could be developed, perhaps into an ecumenical mission involving lay people from the churches in Runcorn.
If you would like to know more about the work and the Methodist Diaconal Order, please contact me.