As pioneer workers, we feel it's a gift that our job is anew one in the circuit, and is being developed as we go along. It's great to beable to think and work outside the regular structures of church services, andlook at ways people can come together in community in different and relevant expressions.Sunday morning church isn't for everybody!
Our recent exploring has been based in Trinity, right in thecentre of Royton. We ran a Repair Café on a Saturday, with pay-as-you-feel drinksand lunch and an eco-refill shop, to see if there could be a community gathering around the idea ofreducing wastage and being kind to the earth. People came with bikes, laptops,clothes, kitchen appliances and old teddy bears to be fixed, and were reallydelighted that they could save something from landfill. The shop was popular,with most people commenting that Royton needed a plastic-free eco shop, andthat they usually had to travel away from their community to find one.
The best part was seeing people hanging around for ages inthe café, chatting to strangers and making connections. It's great to have aspace that's open to everyone, where people can come and not spend any money,and not feel like they have to rush away. All sorts of people wandered in,people we would never have expected. Some commented that they had been 'waitingfor something like this in Royton'. It's always a joy to offer people who leastexpect it a genuine welcome.
The people helping out as volunteers were also starting tobuild community, as we talked about planning for the next Repair Café (October16th) and what kind of things we'd like to do. The Methodist Churchin the UK declared a climate emergency over 2 years ago, and has recently set
out targets for making churches dramatically less polluting by 2030. We hopethe Repair Café can be a part of this.
In the spring, we began English classes with some refugee andmigrant families, We've recently partnered with a charity called African CommunityTogetherness which offers language learning, help with job searching, andfriendship to people who have recently moved to the UK. We hope theseactivities might link up with things already happening in the building atTrinity, for example if the popular Thursday coffee morning could be a place wherelanguage learning can be put into practice!
Over the winter we are hoping to get a Community Fridge upand running (a project to reduce food wastage, open to everyone, regardless ofneed) which might lead to some community meals. After a long 18 months ofisolation, it seems like everyone's in need of a bit of community!