The Buzz brings all members of the Methodist Church in Britain together by sharing good news from across the Connexion. Your stories tell of the many different ways that the Church is working out the four aspects of Our Calling: Worship, Learning and Caring, Service and Evangelism.
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More than 100 young people aged 3-14 came together in Felpham, West Sussex for a time-travelling adventure to Egypt exploring the biblical story of Joseph through drama, crafts and games.
Over 40 volunteers from local churches joined the team to put on ‘Felpham Holiday Special’, which is run by Scripture Union, in partnership with churches and Christians. Originally held on the nearby beach, the event is now in its 101st year.
The Revd Dan Balsdon, Methodist minister at Felpham Methodist Church where many of the events were hosted, said, “We’ve had an amazing week with the young people who have shared fun and laughter as we explored the story of Joseph and considered what we can learn from the story to help us live our lives today. The team have been incredible, devoting their week to working with the young people.”
Wickham Music Festival
Meon Valley Methodist Circuit
The Wickham Music Festival took place in the summer, a family friendly fun event in the Hampshire countryside.
The Elemental Tent, run by the Meon Valley Methodist Circuit, provided Celtic Christian outreach at the festival and a chance for rest and relaxation, a cuppa, a chat and cake. This is the fifth year the churches have brought the tent to the festival. The tent also offered arts and crafts, give-aways and was the venue for a harvest festival service. The festival takes on a different feel at night and each evening a labyrinth was installed outside the tent.
Martin Letts, senior steward at Swanmore Methodist Church who are part of Meon Valley Circuit, commented, “The sun always shines at Wickham Festival. This year it shone powerfully from morning till evening and people of all ages seem ready to smile, to chat, to befriend and to belong.
“We all have worries and have to face difficulties but we’ve all been given free choice. Sometimes we make good choices, sometimes not-so-good, so a chance to share thoughts with others can be helpful. That’s where we came in, to listen, to pray and to help find answers to life’s questions, big and small.”
LEARNING AND CARING
Banbury Methodist Circuit
“Funstation”, organised by Banbury Methodist Circuit, had young people racing to join them during the school holidays when a Scalextric track was among the activities on offer.
Alternating between the town centre church of Marlborough Road Methodist Church in Banbury and Hinton Methodist Church in the growing village of Woodford Halse, families of all ages came to enjoy activities, games and crafts. There was a baby and toddler area with soft play equipment and games for older children including air hockey, Lego and a giant Connect 4.
At Marlborough Road, the young people were able to play table tennis and even race against each other with Scalextric cars. The arts and craft activities had a biblical theme with the children making Pharaoh headdresses as well as calm down jars and friendship bracelets.
The activities were organised by volunteers from the churches who willingly give up their time and chatted with families. The summer of activities were all supported with prayer. As many as two hundred people visited per session with great feedback from those attending.
Julie Swann, Children and Families Worker for Banbury Circuit, commented, “While we are thrilled at the popularity of the events, we are very aware that it is not about numbers but about building relationships and being a first step into church, where we can build further ministry with families.”
Adavu, the 101st survivor
Birmingham Methodist District
The government estimates that there are between 10,000 and 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. Other organisations, such as the Global Slavery Index, estimate that the figure could be tenfold that number.
Modern day slavery is when people are recruited, transported or harboured under threat, coercion, and deception for the purposes of being exploited – that exploitation could be sexual, labour, forced criminality or domestic servitude.
Adavu, a project led and supported by the Birmingham Methodist District, has been providing long-term support to survivors of modern slavery and raising awareness in the West Midlands since 2011. The values of the Adavu Project echo the Birmingham Methodist District beliefs – to be a good neighbour to people in need and to challenge injustice. This summer, Adavu reached a milestone by helping their 101st survivor.
Survivors face financial, legal and emotional challenges alongside recovery as well as the physical effects of being exploited. Adavu’s support workers meet with each client and, together, identify their immediate needs such as accommodation, clothing, food, access to healthcare and benefits. They then identify longer-term goals that may include higher education, employment or voluntary work and help survivors connect with local communities and organisations, cultural groups or places of worship.
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