For our Away day this year, seventeen of us went to the Chapel in the Fields, near Dunham Massey, built in the 19th century and until a few years ago simply Sinderland Green Methodist Chapel. It remains so, with a faithful though shrinking membership, but it is now also a flexible meeting place and centre for Godly Play.
After gathering outside in the shade for coffee, we went in to the central carpeted space - the pews have been repurposed elsewhere - and formed a circle. Rev Kevin Johnson (Minister and Project Leader of Chapel in the Fields) began by describing his own journey, from teenage convert to Methodist minister via time-served carpenter, and shared his vision of such a space, which includes a carpentry workshop producing worship resources. In three groups, we then practised one of our Holy Habits, Bible-reading, by studying three Scripture passages (Isaiah 55:1-11 , Luke 4:14-30 and Acts 8:26-40) using a form of Lectio Divina. We read the passage aloud, pondered it in silence for ten minutes, shared the thoughts and ideas it provoked, then read it aloud again. It was surprising how many and how varied were those thoughts. We were then asked to put together something arising from them, to offer as part of the afternoon's Communion service.
After lunch we experienced a Godly Play session provided by Jane Johnson, and then had about an hour's free time. Like the silence during Lectio Divina, this was fruitful, whether sitting quietly, chatting, exploring the workshop or walking the ministerial dog. The day concluded with Holy Communion at which members of the three morning discussion groups also shared the fruits of those discussions.
We'd like to thank Kevin for his hospitality and for leading our day, and Rev Julie for organising it.