Transforming Central – A Story Unfolding

Central Methodist Church was a flagship Connexional project to mark the 100th anniversary of the “strangely warmed heart” of John Wesley, completed in 1840. It has seen this beautiful city change, flourish, struggle and become what it is today, a thriving hub full of visitors and residents, education, commerce and industry.

The congregation that worships in Central Methodist Church has similarly changed, flourished, struggled and become what it is today, a committed family of Christ-followers who have real passion for the church and its place and life in the city, alongside all, especially those who are vulnerable in some way.

 

Several years ago, we reached a crossroads. With mounting issues with the building itself, and feeling potentially overwhelmed, conversation and prayer were focused on a question, “Do we remain open, and if so, how do we creatively face the future?”.

The answer was an emphatic yes to carrying on, the life of the building was revitalised in terms of tenancies and its use by external groups, and the circuit honoured that deeply held conviction by creating the diaconal post that Judith Stoddart has taken up since September last year.

 

Central’s life is changing.

We have been worshipping with more variety, moved the children’s area in the church to the front, and begun to meet in small group activities and opportunities during the week, attended by a mixture of church members, passers by, and CareCent clients. We’re asking what it truly means to make the building and our worship as welcoming as possible, and what contribution we uniquely make to the city in the space we have and the faith opportunities we offer. Of course, that without doubt brings changes to our patterns, priorities and the building itself. It’s exciting, challenging and progressive. We’ve come a long way in the past year.

 

We have commissioned an architect to undertake a feasibility study for the whole of the building, asking ourselves, user groups and performance groups in drama and music to help us re-imagine the possibilities for the physical space we have. Part of that means evaluating the chapel as it is in terms of practicality and accessibility for worship and other events, alongside a potential long term partnership in refurbishing the basement and some considered work around the church entrances and the navigability of the whole building.

 

We expect to have that work completed by Christmas and will then be deciding how to proceed. We have offers of consultation and assistance from the District and the Connexion, but Central remains a circuit church in our circuit, and so we want you to know that we’re on the move, and that the conversation about our mission and presence in the city centre is alive, growing and will need to be part of our circuit’s stepping out in faith into the future. For now, pray for us, ask us about our life, and give thanks with us for the many years of faithfulness to all that God is doing through us here, and is going to do in the years to come.

 

Lent on Central’s Facebook page

We have a Facebook page, where we normally post details of our services alongside any other relevant from our city and the world of Methodism. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/CentralMethodistChurchYork/  Make sure you ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ to keep up-to-date.

The hymns that we sing are an important influence on our theology and hence the way we lead our lives. Singing has been at the heart of the Methodist story since it’s beginnings. The preface to the hymn book states “Singing hymns in worship assists us in meeting with the living God and helps us to grow in faith, discipleship and fellowship.” The same can be applied to using the words of hymns in personal reflection and prayer.

During Lent we’re going to be adding in a devotional and reflective element to our posts. Each day we’ll be posting the words of a hymn verse from our normal Hymn book,  Singing the Faith. If you have a favourite hymn, or have spotted something that particularly speaks to you, or something that helps you during Lent, then let us know and we’ll include it. There’s 40 days to fill!

Please get in touch with your suggestions using the comments form below.

New ministerial team at Central

Deacon Judith Stoddart and Revd Rory Dalgliesh

On September 3rd 2017, Deacon Judith Stoddart (along with other new circuit staff) was welcomed to the York circuit at Acomb Methodist church. The annual welcome service marks the start of the Methodist year.

Judith will be serving  a Probationer Deacon at Central and working across the city centre. She was born in Neston, Cheshire but grew up in the North East of England. She worked in the insurance industry for twenty years before
sensing God was calling her to something else. This was
initially as a youth and family worker in a Methodist church, followed by a
surprising, compelling call into Diaconal Ministry.

We also welcome Rory as our new Presbyter Minster. Originally hailing from South Africa, Rory has worked for the last 11 years as Chaplain to the University of York. He’ll also have pastoral charge of Haxby and Wiggington Methodist Church.

In the picture above, Rory and Judith are holding a huge paper bag containing pieces of rock, with ‘Growing in Christ’ running through. We look forward to growing in Christ alongside them.

‘Growing in Christ’ Rock.