Christmas with the Methodist Mobile Outreach

06 December 2023

In rural parts of the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury Methodist District, the Shropshire & Marches circuit has decided to bring the church to the people with a trailer that will offer a spiritual space for isolated communities.

Under the cold winter sun, the Methodist Mobile Outreach (MeMO), painted in blue and green, entices people to get in and have a look at its Christmas exhibition. “Come in, and discover the story of the first Christmas,” reads a panel on the side.

The exhibition was created and crafted by Andy Skitt, the Lay Worker in charge of the MeMO for the Shropshire & Marches Methodist Circuit. Over the next few weeks, Andy will share the story of Jesus and the first Christmas with groups of children from a local school and give them a knitted angel to put on their Christmas tree at home.



"We can turn our refurbished trailer into anything anybody wants it to be. So, some Sunday’s the trailer is in the centre of Oswestry branded as Churches Together. We want to bring church to people because most are not coming into our buildings anymore. This is our way of trying something different,” says Revd Julia Skitts.

The MeMO is a new outreach initiative started by Revd Julia and Deacon Carys Woodley who arrived in the circuit in 2021. They realized that there were huge gaps in between the churches that were not being served.

“It’s about creating welcoming communities in isolated places. We wanted to be able to park up, on say a village green, and offer a pop-up coffee morning. Coming back regularly helps to create community,” explains Deacon Carys Woodley from the Shropshire & Marches Circuit.

Between finding the funding, from the Connexional Team, the district, the circuit and the sale of a church then buying the trailer and refurbishing it, it took quite some time to bring the project to fruition.

People’s isolation was highlighted after the closure of six churches in the circuit so the use of the MeMO to reach out is acutely needed. “We wanted something that could be mobile, a small warm space where groups could gather. It's got seating, a heater and we can make hot and cold drinks but it is not a catering trailer. We wanted to be as inclusive as possible so there is a ramp to allow wheelchairs to come in too,” adds Carys.

The use of this twenty-first-century gospel car is a reminder that, despite our modern communication tools, rural areas can remain hard to reach.  The MeMO project is reminiscent of the gospel car exhibited at the Black Country Living Museum.

Most importantly, MeMO “Allows us to get the church out of our buildings and create communities in isolated places. We just need somewhere to park the trailer,” concludes Revd Richard Hall, Superintendent Minister of the Shropshire & Marches Circuit.