From past to present …. raising a flag

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immerse is part of the Methodist family and it seems no coincidence that we have found our home in a community centre that is only a couple of miles from Mow Cop.

Mow Cop is the place where Methodism underwent a kind of spiritual revival. A group of Methodists at Harisseahead, influenced by camp meetings in America, decided to hold a gathering on Mow Cop on 31st May 1807. This is the account of William Clowes, one of the key instigators of the revival:

‘The morning was unfavourable; it was rainy. Nevertheless I resolved to proceed to the place; and on my arrival at the hill, about six o’clock, I found a small group of people assembled under a wall, singing. I immediately joined them, and several of us engaged in praying services, one Peter Bradburn preached a sermon, and an individual from Macclesfield followed with another. The people now began to be strongly affected, and we commenced another praying service. During the progress of these labours the people kept in large numbers, but as they came from various places, many were at a loss to know to what part of the hill they should make. At last a person of the name Taylor, from Tunstall, suggested that a flag, or something of the kind, should be hoisted, as a guide to the coming multitudes, directing them to the place where the religious services were going on. Accordingly a Mr Edward Anderson, from Kilham, in Yorkshire, unfurled something like a flag on a pole in a conspicuous and elevated position, which became the centre of attraction.’

(taken from  The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion by John Petty)

According to Joseph Ritson Captain Edward Anderson, who raised the flag, had led a pretty dramatic life, in fact he told his story on Mow Cop on the 31st May 1807:

‘He had been a shepherd-lad, a sailor, a rhymester, a Methodist, an antislavery advocate and a temperance reformer. He had been shipwrecked, captured by French privateers and in the hands of the press-gang; but in Liverpool he had been arrested and soundly converted at a Methodist meeting, and was now among the foremost in promoting weal of his fellows’

(taken from The Romance of Primitive Methodism by Joseph Ritson)

If you’ve passed the community centre recently you might have seen our flag outside. Originally we bought it so that people would know someone from immerse is in the building, but since discovering Captain Anderson’s flag it has taken on a new significance. The flag, just like Anderson’s, is a symbol, a sign, to tell those who are looking where to come. It announces to all who pass by that here is a group of Christians who are passionate about their faith and deeply committed to Kidsgrove.

So in memory of Captain Anderson – we raise our flag!

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Good Friday

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One of the key moments in the Christian story is Good Friday. It’s the day we remember the death of Jesus who was crucified by the Romans just outside Jerusalem nearly 2000 years ago. It’s a poignant moment for those of us who are Christians because we believe that because of Jesus’ death our lives are transformed for ever; that somehow are lives are bound up with his life, death and resurrection.

This means that as we remember Jesus’ death …. something in us dies

and on Easter Sunday when we remember his coming to life …. something in us is reborn

but first the agony of the cross.

A few of us will be gathering at The Galley Community Centre on Friday 3rd April at 2pm to spend some time remembering. It is not an easy time together, it is not joyous or raucous or loud but it is beautifully special.

If you would like to join us – you are more than welcome.

re:charge 1st March 2015

re:charge March 2015
re:charge March 2015

Part of the rhythm of our community is to worship together once a month. Everyone is welcome and we normally have music (loud), video, conversation, coffee and more often than not – food!

If you are the type of person who likes to chew things over, to think and dialogue with others about BIG stuff, if you are suspicious of being given answers but love to seek them …. then this might be a space for you.

If you love to experience stuff, to FEEL as well as to know, if music and singing kind of get to you …. then this might be your kind of thing!

… and if you love a brew – this is definitely your kind of thing!

Sunday 1st March 2015       You are more than welcome!

December 7th – put it in your diary!

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December 7th is a big day for us at immerse (well – it could be a long day!)

At 3pm we have Kerygma and at 6pm we have re:charge. The chances are we will have food in between for those that want to be around all day or for those that stick around after kerygma or come early to re:charge. So if you can make all of it…. some of it…. a bit of it …. it would be great to see you.

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Lent – A time to give up something

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Today is Ash Wednesday and Lent is now upon us – what have you
given up?

Some give up chocolate, alcohol, sweets …. a whole range of things.

Why? well not normally because they are religious, but usually because they want to practice a bit of self control or because it is a way of naming a time when they get get a bit healthier. All of these things are of value – a bit of self control and a healthy lifestyle are always welcome.

Those who try and shape their life around Jesus will know that Lent is the period when we remember the temptations of Jesus. He spent 40 days in the wilderness (desert) where it is told that he was tempted by the devil to either follow him or to win people over like some kind of superhero.

Jesus had none of it, and it was in the desert that he decided the kind of man he was going to be and the kind of life he was going to live. Our reading of the stories of Jesus suggests that he was a lively, vibrant, life giving, life loving, party animal who lived with extravagant and outrageous generosity.

We want to do the same …

It’s difficult because there aren’t that many of us and we are all really busy, but we do meet every Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours and we want to use that time in Lent to practise this way of life with more intensity. So this year, for every Sunday in Lent, we are going to make soup and bread, spend some time in worship whilst its cooking, and then eat it!

and if anyone, anywhere, is hungry in Kidsgrove on Sunday afternoon you are welcome to join us – no cost – free food!

and if anyone, anywhere fancies a bit of company in KIdsgrove on Sunday afternoon you are welcome to join us – no cost – free friends!

So if you fancy some soup on Sunday – join us at 3pm

We’ve decided to give up being selfish – lets see how we do.

Waiting for an angel …

Every Christmas we like to produce an art installation that begins to open up the traditional nativity story. This year it is called Waiting for an angel. more pictures to follow but here is a bit of a description for now.

If you want to come and have a peek we will be open Saturday 14th 10 am-3pm and on Sunday 3pm -5pm.

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Here at immerse we are fascinated with equivalence. We don’t take ancient narratives and force them into our post-modern context but we do hope to explore what their equivalence would be today. As we thought about the odd couple – the (probably) older man and the (probably) younger woman, we began to wonder where we might locate their story today. Would it be in a shed? A hospital? A squat?

It seems this couple lived far from the town where they grew up; when they did come home because of government decree they were not welcome. Ties had been broken; a taboo, an embarrassment in the family as dysfunctional as most families today! Anyone who has worked with and spoken to homeless people often hear of a fractured home life and torn relationships. Perhaps the equivalence is homelessness?

If you google ‘homeless pregnancies and births’ we are sure, like us, that you will be horrified at the number of stories on-line. How is it that in the 21st Century it is still possible for women to be in such danger at such a vulnerable time? Why are we satisfied that this happens in our world, in our streets? It is a scandal that is often never uncovered because women and pregnancy falls outside of the dominant culture of war, greed and selfishness. To give birth is an ultimate act of self-giving, of complete otherness where one becomes two.

More horrifying are the number of stories of homeless women who give birth and are diagnosed with a variety of mental health illnesses. Not only are these women at their most vulnerable, they are set within a category that is stigmatised by the masses. Homeless – Pregnant – with Mental Health. And as a society we feel the best place for them to be is on the street?

Imagine a woman tells you she was visited in the night by a heavenly being and it made her pregnant? What would our conclusions be? This mad, pregnant woman who can’t stay at home because of the government but is not welcome back with the family because of disagreement gives birth here, in the street. Perhaps someone will hear of her child? Take pity on them? If not then the future does not hold much hope for this poor family. If the child can only make it to adulthood he might stand a chance; but for him to get that far will depend on the strength and determination of his mother. Perhaps, if this child can live long enough to become a man – he might help her discover liberation so that she is restored to the fullness she deserves. But not yet, for now she is his only chance. And if all her mad mumblings are true – this child might be one to watch out for.

But for now …

We hope she finds an Angel

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Christmas Carols

In the darkest place ... the brightest light
In the darkest place … the brightest light

Come and join us this Sunday (8th December) for some traditional carols and beautiful coffee – and you really need to try our hot chocolate!

The Carol Service is always a beautiful moment in the life of any Christian Community. It carves out space for us to connect with an ancient story that brings about transformation and hope.

Christmas Carols always bring about a sense of nostalgia and often a ‘fuzzy’ mixed up feeling of joy, excitement and love. Come and share with us as we make our way towards Bethlehem and witness again the extra-ordinary in our midst. The birth of a child who should never have been … but was.

A world changer

Sunday 8th December 2013, 6pm, Kidsgrove Central.