31 July 2018

A packed visit to the Cornwall District

It has been an extraordinary and very special few days in the Cornwall District. Sandy and I are grateful for wonderful hospitality from Steve and Laura Wild, as well as various churches and circuits.

So to begin... on Friday we visited some important heritage sites, including The Quaker Meeting House at Come-to-Good, Billy Bray's grave and his 'Three Eyes' Chapel. The chapel reminded me of the first church I preached (in the Hull West Circuit) which had a raked floor but the pulpit there was not so impressive. Billy was a Bible Christian preacher, famous for his evangelical 'fervid' preaching! We then had a quick visit to Chapel Porth, a lovely National Trust beach and on our cliff top walk bumped into Bishop Christopher of St Germans - an ecumenical coincidence!

Our next visit on Wednesday was to spend time with Supernumerary ministers, their husbands, wives, widows and widowers. The people of St Agnes Church hosted us with a delicious lunch. It was very special to spend time with people who had, between them, given hundreds of years of faithful service in response to God's call. Lots of wisdom and laughter.

And then... to Newquay. Three Methodist churches in the town have come together and, for now are worshipping in a local school. They are building a new church at the centre of a large Duchy housing development. After many set backs and delays, they have just this week, received the news that things are going to be able to go ahead. It was great to meet with members of the Circuit Leadership Team and to visit the site, as well as the shop they have bought in order to have a presence during the next stage of development.

Dinner in Penzance with former Vice President, Brian Thornton, and former President, Professor Peter Stephens was a fascinating time and great fun.

Day 2 of our trip to Cornwall began with a quick trip to St Ives, where Sandy and I were able to have a stroll (well more a mad dash in the rain) whilst Steve did some work. We then headed to Trewint, to visit the cottage that John Wesley stayed at on many occasions when in Cornwall. It is a delightful place, well worth a visit.

We then headed over to the Port Elliot Festival, where the local Church - St Germans Methodist - had set up a 'pop up' church, offering space for a chat and great craft activities for children. It was a great piece of community outreach. We met Solomon, who shared how Chelsea Methodist Church had helped him at a time in life when he was homeless and struggling with alcohol addiction. His life is good now and he was delighted to have us pray with him and to take one of Steve's little crosses.

Day 3 of the President's visit to Cornwall began with an early morning radio interview on BBC Radio Cornwall. The first service of the day was at Polperro, followed by Looe Riverside Methodist URC LEP and then lunch with the Circuit Leadership Team of the Liskeard and Looe Circuit. In the afternoon we dashed over to Gwennap Pit and the weather was kind! In the evening it was a joy to share in the Songs of Praise service at Truro Methodist Church, to sign the Historic Roll and to preach again - about God's generous providence.

The Revd Michaela Youngson

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