East of Eden Mission Community Launch

More than 150 people gathered in Gamblesby Methodist Church for a service to launch the East of Eden Mission Community.

Representatives were there from Anglican Churches and Methodist Chapels  across the area, from Ainstable in the north to Culgaith in the south and from Lazonby in the west to Kirkland in the east. A wonderful sense of joy was evident at the prospect of different Christian denominations working together – and it showed in the singing! A great volume of sound filled the church as familiar and new hymns were sung, led by a talented musical group drawn from the new Community.

The service on Sunday 4 September  included a welcome from Canon Stephen Pye and Rev’d Les Wallace who will be joint leaders of the new Community. Prayers were led by Canon David Fowler – a leading member of the implementation team until his retirement next year,  Rev’d Chris Blackshaw –  who will be supporting the Community as well as carrying on with his role as Agricultural Chaplain – and John Williams, Methodist Lay Preacher and his daughter Rachel Melling.  The new group was also delighted that both the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Re’vd. James Newcome and the Chair of the Cumbria Methodist District, Rev’d Richard Teal could be present to lend support to the project. Both leaders gave addresses on the importance of working together and looking outwards to meet the spiritual needs of everyone within the area.

Although there are no URC Churches in the new Community, the Rev’d Sarah Moore, President of the Cumbria Area URC Synod was also present and led the Commissioning of Les Wallace and Stephen Pye before a final blessing was given for the new project. Everyone then enjoyed light refreshments and much craic in the bright sunshine outside. The refreshments were served from  a Yurt – often used for outreach and mission events – which had been set up by Deacon Melanie Beaven from Carlisle.

The day really was one of celebration of a journey that has begun together – with the recognition that, as with any new project, there will be lots to do in the coming months to manage the challenges that lie ahead.