Somewhere Else - update Mar11 (listen)

Monday, 7 March, 2011

Ian Hu brings us up to date on Somewhere Else, the 'bread church' in Liverpool.

Duration: 4:43   | Download Download mp3


Interviewer: Somewhere Else, or the bread church as it came to be known, is based above a bookshop in Liverpool and has formed a community which is based on baking, eating and worshipping together. Ian Hu is the Methodist minister now leading Somewhere Else, and he explained what had changed since that first DVD appearance.

Ian Hu: I would say the maturity, the overall maturity of the community, the team of volunteers who are here have really gelled together and it's kind of a well-oiled machine, I like to refer to it as. I took my sabbatical leave over this past summer and, while we had ministers from all over the region coming in and assisting on bread-making days, it was really the core of volunteers that held everything together and kept it running, and they did so very very admirably. Probably at least 75% of people who volunteer here are, I'd say, aged 25 or younger.

And some people come in to Somewhere Else and are very much 'inquisitors', they know that they have a faith but they are at the very early stages of identifying it and being able to talk about their faith and to really understand what makes them tick.

Interviewer: Somewhere Else is well known though for its regular baking sessions. So are they still at the heart of this unusual fresh expression and are they as popular as ever?

Ian Hu: Every Tuesday and Thursday when we have bread making, it is very rare that we don't have at least one person who has never been here before. It's open to the public, people can come up, it is a very diverse group, we've got single mums, single dads with kids who will come up – and particularly during term breaks, people who are job-seekers, who are not employed will come up. There's a great opportunity for socialisation and they really like what happens here.

Interviewer: Spending time praying together at the end of each session is an important element of the work being undertaken. But some people have accused fresh expressions such as Somewhere Else, of simply being a kind of social service. Ian disagrees.

Ian Hu: First and foremost this is a church and this community considers the entire process that happens here on Tuesday and Thursdays, of community building and faith-sharing and storytelling that happens around the bread making table, to be all-encompassing in a Christian experience, together with sitting down for a communal meal all together. There are times when somebody might be in a bad place when they come here also, and that has an effect, and in the facilitators' training in the volunteers' training I think we've always got a good core of people who are sensitive to things like that, who are perceptive enough to be able to pick up on signs or body language or indications that somebody might be here but they might want some quiet time or they might want a private room with someone or something like that.

Interviewer: So how do you stop a bread church going stale? Ian believes its vital to constantly re-evaluate what you're doing.

Ian Hu: This community is right now, as we speak, very actively looking at where it's been and what challenges are in the store for the future, because it just feels like we're listening to the Spirit and just intently praying for guidance.

Interviewer: Ian Hu, who now leads Somewhere Else, Liverpool's famous bread church.

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