Becoming a Methodist

In September 2013 I asked my Twitter followers whether anyone knew of any space for a cartoonist to work. I had this reply, among others:

A few days later I met Juliet and went to see a room at New Road Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, conveniently located fifteen minutes (plus a bit of walking) down the railway line from where I live. A bit of church vestry conversion was undertaken, and I started working in a studio at what was to become known as The Fishermen’s Chapel.

I became more involved, becoming part of a steering group whose role was to see the building develop as an arts venue at the same time as being an active church. We now have all manner of events taking place: concerts, a monthly gospel service, choir rehearsals, art displays, yarnbombing, craft fairs, and family lantern-making events, to name a few. I’ve really enjoyed working with this small team of really very gifted people. When there’s not many of you it feels as if your contribution can make a definite difference. (If you’re local and reading this: do join us!)

Being small in number makes it easier to get to know everyone, and I’ve felt incredibly welcomed. I like the model of church: rather than running huge numbers of activities ourselves and trying to persuade people to come along, we’ve invited the community into the building to do whatever it is they’d like to do. It seems to work.

In all these goings-on I’ve never actually quite got around to joining what is now my church. So I’m becoming a member on Sunday morning. I hadn’t really foreseen myself becoming a part of the Methodist Church it must be said, but this is the place that I’ve felt at home, so here I am.

Do come along if you’re within reach and don’t have to be somewhere else. The service is at 11. It will be a fairly standard Methodist service, with no bells, smells or whistles. The membership bit is a few lines of liturgy and (apparently) some shaking of hands. I’ll say a few words at some point and there will be coffee and quite possibly cake afterwards. You’d be most welcome.

A note about accessibility: the Chapel is upstairs, built into the cliff. If you’d like to come along but this is a problem for you (the stairs bit) please contact me.

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Illustrations for a book by The Church Mouse
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Talking to the Australian cartoonist for the Church Times Podcast
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The various language editions of the cycling book

10 thoughts on “Becoming a Methodist”

  1. Interesting how God works in our lives. And he takes you where you might not expect to find yourself.

    All of this sounds very much like GodIncidence perhaps a chance for a series of cartoons, based on how this works in our lives?

    But I’m sure that everyone is delighted that you have found a safe space to work, and to be in community and to worship.

  2. God calls us to serve in places we never expect. As a lifetime Anglican I never expected to be called to ministry in a Baptist Church …..but I was, and hope to go for ministry recognition soon! God bless you!

  3. I would be there if I didnt live in Manchester! I am glad this has worked out so well for you. Our church encourages the community to come in and do things, but charges the organisers a lot of money IMO. But it thinks that they will realise it is a church building and start coming to services. They don’t. Church have meetings about how to make them come to services.

  4. Welcome from a Methodist who as a young local preacher in training (we say ‘on trial’) many years ago used to preach at what we then called New Road Methodist Church.

  5. Welcome from a Greenbelter who started life in the Methodist church in Southend, now mostly worshipping in Anglican churches near Cambridge. As such I always find your perspectives on the CofE helpful, knowing it’s not just me that finds so much of the tradition peculiar! Will definitely pop into the Fisherman’s Chapel next time I’m home – I’ve always thought it looked like a lovely place!

  6. Born into Methodist family and i agree i feel perfectly at home and Methodist is not just a church its a community, its market, its inclusiveness with cultures.
    we dont discriminate and methodist church dont focus on shouting n screaming nor lies about what they dont know
    we keep it simple, steady as we discover.

  7. You do know that Methodists are Anglicans? And that there are Methodists who are deeply into smells and bells? Good luck.

  8. Hi everyone – just to say thanks for kind messages. It was a beautiful morning, uplifting service, and I was so pleased some lovely people came along as a result of reading this blog post.

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