Diocesan Visitation video: ‘I was a stranger’


I’m Lesley and I’m one of the Churchwardens at Malmesbury Abbey I’m caroline cook and I’m the Churchwarden in All Saints in Littleton Drew Welcome to St Stephens here in the centre of Bristol Caroline Baston I’m priest-in-charge and transition minister for the parish of St Andrews North Swindon We feel that our role as welcomers and offering hospitality is very important to us We feel that our role as welcomers and offering hospitality is very important to us The family services are full of joy and I think that just makes everyone feel at ease For me it’s a welcome to all people with a face of Christ all people with a face of Christ We’re absolutely passionate about making everyone who walks through this door feel welcome We’re absolutely passionate about making everyone who walks through this door feel welcome We’re absolutely passionate about making everyone who walks through this door feel welcome at these services whether they live locally or have come hundreds of miles doesn’t make any difference at these services whether they live locally or have come hundreds of miles doesn’t make any difference To me the Abbey is a spiritual home and so I try to welcome people as if I welcome them into my home We discover that God is sending bucketloads of people for baptisms and to have their banns read. Just as Jesus welcomed everybody who came to him our task was to welcome all those who came and enquired about Baptism On becoming Churchwarden I really felt that was where we needed to go to On becoming Churchwarden I really felt that was where we needed to go to try and bring the church into the community events. try and bring the church into the community events. We have a kind of image that is given to us, a picture by somebody recently talking about ministry in the
city center and they say it’s a bit like being on the
beach you know, the tide comes in and wonderful gifts come with the tide usually people and that’s why welcoming is very important My name’s Claire, and I run the Malmesbury Abbey Cafe We have lots of groups of Mums that come in with babies, we have the elderly, we’ve got anyone and everyone. So, wonderful opportunities to meet these people where they are and hear them and listen to them and help them feel really valued. People can feel they’re able to dip-in to church, come and explore and that their own, maybe, spiritual journey isn’t being invalidated. We’ve celebrated births, deaths, marriages, all sorts over the last year and it’s really nice way of getting people from the Abbey to walk alongside people that don’t come to church, and to show them the love of Jesus. One of the great challenges and
privileges of being in a place like this right in the city center is; there are all sorts of opportunities to really listen to other people, aren’t there? Of course, listening to your music was one of the first things
because because your music has enriched the
streets of Bristol. I’ve felt really welcomed here and there was a sense that i was what God wanted me to be It’s very easy it my long experience for
people to say “If only we had X, Y and Z, people would come.” We work with where we are, who we are, who God sends, the facilities we have. What we do isn’t really rocket science; it’s about making sure that we welcome everybody in that wonderful thing of Benedict and and the gospels everyone as if they were Christ themselves. That they’re a person of value and dignity because they’re made in God’s image, and God has blessed us when we’ve done that.

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