Nicholas Owen: February 2018
The Methodist church at Onchan celebrated its Chapel anniversary on the last weekend in January with two key events: a Mission to the Onchan Precinct, popularly known as Village Walk, and a Burns Supper.
Rev Steven Wild, chair of the Cornwall district and a past President of the Methodist Conference, led the mission and preached at the two anniversary services. In the unrelenting wet weather of Saturday morning Steven and two of our members: Joy Owen and Christine Sutherland spent the morning engaging with shoppers, workers and other visitors to the precinct and to the village. Our mission was a simple one — to extend an invitation to our anniversary services and to invite folk to have a cup of coffee in the Nutty Chef cafe where other members would be there to welcome them and offer hospitality.
It was extraordinarily successful. Even those people who could not spare time for a drink were all happy to receive the invitation and to meet people from the church. Steven is an evangelist who showed us how easy it is to be disciples for Jesus among ordinary people and how receptive people outside the church can be when they receive a personal invitation.
Steven himself went a little further with his mission in the Hospice Shop where he unexpectedly met another member Kath Shooter and as a result enjoyed conversations with other workers in the shop. He also told the seemingly unloved traffic warden in the village that she too was loved by God even if she was not always loved by motorists!
Preaching at our services on Sunday, and during the afternoon at Agneash, Steven brought a profound message of discipleship in which he shared his everyday experiences engaging ordinary people in conversations about Christ. His excitement and enthusiasm infected everyone who was present. This message was quite simple: in 2018 he urged people to be 10% bolder for God.
Unsurprisingly he preached to packed houses morning and evening and brought some of his infamous puppets to entertain the children with a gospel message showing that God protect all his children just as a mother eagle protects hers. The sight of a past president in his dog collar on all fours conveying this message brought a tear to many eyes.
While many people who have heard Steven preach will be familiar with his charismatic and energetic style, he also found time to speak individually to every member of the congregation and to all our guests at the Burns supper, many of them are not regular churchgoers.
Our weekend was a truly uplifting and heart warming experience in which we all came a little closer to God. The power of Steven's message was simple — discipleship is something we can all do.
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Onchan Methodist Church
Mona Lodge, Jurby Rd, Lezayre, Ramsey