Middlesbrough and Eston Methodist Circuit Website
Report to Spring Synod 2019
Every summer Stainton, our oldest chapel (built in 1840) with the smallest premises having only sixteen members, works ecumenically, to hold an evening Open Air Big Sing in the village. Enhanced with Lockwood Brass, a silver band, this year over a hundred people joined together in a programme celebrating God's love. Led by Rev Sue, singing inspiring hymns such as: "Come let us sing of a wonderful love" and "When I survey", such an exhilarating event certainly does increase awareness of God's presence!
Learning and Caring
Trinity Family Friendly Centre as part of Aging Better Middlesbrough's Warm Welcome Network, has recently opened "Unity Café" in the church foyer, offering great food four days a week at affordable prices. A lively Facebook presence invites people to pop in and say hello, and maybe Pay it Forward for somebody else to have a cuppa or a meal. Unity Cafe also sends vouchers to local charities so that meals may be provided for families in crisis. At the café the opportunity for its clients to grow and learn as Christians is emblazoned by the message in the acronym C.O.F.F.E.E "Christ Offers Forgiveness For Everyone Everywhere" painted above the serving hatch.
Based in the Linthorpe Rd Church, in the centre of Middlesbrough, MAP, the Methodist Asylum Project continues to offer practical support, social engagement and a sense of community for those seeking asylum. Besides many other weekly activities we have an astonishing, thriving and in sporting terms "winning" football team. Our programme is called Club Together, and is a way of making football accessible for asylum-seekers, and is delivered for us by MFC Foundation who also supply kit. MAP seeks to work together, where possible, with those providing contracted services for asylum seekers, in order to help systems run smoothly. Where appropriate, though, we also increasingly engage with NEMP and others to advocate for individuals whose needs are being overlooked by the Home Office.
At Nunthorpe the two year old over-subscribed Play and Chat toddler group was the spring-board for an additional, more overtly evangelism based venture Praise and Play. Sitting at the foot of the cross, families sing thanks to God for gifts suggested by the toddlers, so gifts like sunshine, cake and mummies figure. A lively interactive bible story is told after its key words like Jesus, Zacchaeus, Tree, Tea have been chanted. Candles are lit as symbols of named people or situations for whom the children and their carers seek Jesus' help. We end with a rousing song and blessing before we leave the church for craft activities and refreshments. More followers of Jesus Christ? There were only 3 children coming to this praise session in October: in March we had 15, all new to our church.