Loving Hands - update Apr10

Friday, 2 April, 2010

Sally Ratcliffe and Sue Jackson tell us about Loving Hands, a fresh expression of church for knitters in Warrington.

Duration: 4:05   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: One of the first things may pioneers do when they want to plant a fresh expression of church is begin to build community, and that can often happen quite naturally around an activity such as surfing or watching films or even knitting. Yes one church in Cheshire is in the early stages of establishing a fresh expression of church by bringing people together more comfortable saying knit one, purl one, than singing a hymn, Sally Ratcliffe is the minister of Lymm Methodist Church.

Sally Ratcliffe: It started with a little seed of an idea that came from a friend over in Ellesmere Port, who talked about a similar sort of group that knits over there and are employing a lay worker Sue, and her not being entirely sure where her ministry lay, and my saying to here Sue, can you knit, and that's really where the idea has snowballed from.

Sue Jackson: We have about 30-35 coming to each meeting and probably have maybe in the region of 50 members all told.

Introducer: Sue Jackson is responsible for outreach and mission across four churches in the Warrington area.

Sue Jackson: And we also have quite a lot of people that knit in various other outlets of the Methodist Church and the community for us, or they knit from home, so it could be reaching getting on for 100 people now and it grows, we get new people every week. The warmth of the welcome and the fellowship that they find there, it's just phenomenal.

Female voice 1: I'm Jean Tomlinson and I've been coming to Loving Hands since it first started a year ago. But I was keen to come to Loving Hands because I found that it was an opportunity to meet with other people, some of like mind, some who were just as involved in the church as I am, but it's also given me an opportunity to meet one or two people who have no connection to a church, in fact no faith at all. A lady involved in this is my neighbour and we travel from the other side of Warrington to come each Thursday afternoon. People are bringing a friend and a friend's bringing a friend and to me that's really quite important. There is a very spiritual side because people are concerned for what is going on and we've knitted a tremendous amount of scarves for people as comfort, whether they've had a bereavement, whether it's been a stillborn baby, whatever the difficulty is we have surrounded them with love with a nice woolly scarf, and that includes some gentlemen as well, which is very good.

Male voice 1: My name's Robert Mandy, live in Lymm in Cheshire. World War II was on when I was a child and one of my aunts taught me how to knit because Southampton was being heavily bombed and I've kept knitting ever since. I've made patterns for my own sweaters and everything and when I feel like it and I've got a little spare time I just sit down and knit. It's better than television. And nearly every time we have a meeting there is prayer for somebody or other who is related or known to people, one or two people in – I was going to say the audience – in the group! So I find it very calming because you can sit there, knit and just let your mind wander.

Introducer: But can starting to build a community like this really be church? Sally Ratcliffe thinks so.

Sally Ratcliffe: I certainly see it is church and I certainly see that it can be developed in the future. And we're already looking at thinking about offering people opportunity to explore discipleship and Bible study and further fellowship in that way, as a sort of a follow… not a follow on but as a development of the Loving Hands group. So yes I see it as church, they engage in mission, they engage in fellowship with one another, they have a time of prayer together and yes it has many of the marks of church that I would look for.

Introducer: Sally Ratcliffe bringing that report about Loving Hands to an end. And you can find out more by going to the stories section of our website.

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