20 November 2020

Go out of your way to get in the way

During lockdown and throughout the pandemic, churches have responded in love and service to their communities. The Revd Leslie Newton, Chair of the Yorkshire North and East District, offers a way of thinking about how we can respond to those in need and shares an inspiring story from Hull.

Thank goodness for people who ‘go out of their way to get in the way’ of those who are suffering.  That’s the compelling message I heard recently by Danielle Strickland, a Canadian who leads a range of Christian ministries offering hope and compassion to those in need.  She tells of the time when she, as a young woman stuck in a prison cell, was visited by someone ‘going out of their way to get in her way.’  It was a visit with no judgement and only one purpose – to assure Danielle of unconditional love.  It was for her a life-transforming encounter.

The Covid-19 crisis is highlighting and deepening so many vulnerabilities, inequalities and divisions within our society.  But thank goodness for all those who are sacrificially ‘going out of their way to get in the way’ to make a difference. 

One inspiring example is in Hull, within the Yorkshire North and East District.  Hull has this week hit the headlines as the ‘UK’s Covid hotspot’ and Covid is rising most sharply in some of the most deprived parts of the city, such as Gipsyville, where 31% of children are living in child poverty. 

Thank goodness for the people of Trinity Methodist Church - working with local MP, Emma Hardy, and others - together ‘going out of their way to get in the way’ of those struggling in their community.  In summer 2019, they launched “Re:Uniform” an initiative that recycled and redistributed 500 second-hand school uniforms to families across the city for free. 

Now, that same group are responding to rising child-hunger.  They’re busy putting together Christmas hampers for families in need. These hampers will contain essential items as well as some luxury seasonal treats - expressions of appreciation and love.

Sadly, there are so many challenges being faced this winter.  But God is calling us to follow the example of those folks in Hull: to be ‘going out of our way to get in the way’ of those who need us the most.  It’s by so doing that we’ll be walking faithfully in the way of Jesus.

The Revd Leslie Newton, Chair of the Yorkshire North and East District. Listen to Leslie speak to the Methodist Podcast about the Christmas hampers in Hull here (from 10 mins, 2 secs).

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