What is happening in this picture?
Ros Murphy and Mark Boulton write:-
At least twenty five years ago, when ex-President Norwyn Denny retired to live in Redditch, he began worshipping at the local Methodist Church. He soon felt that links with an inner city church and a rural church would enhance understanding of God’s people active in Methodism, so he approached Nechells church in Birmingham and Mickleton church which is just on the edge of the Birmingham District, but actually in Gloucestershire, at the northern end of the Cotswolds AONB. So began the links which still survive, long after Norwyn’s earthly journey came to an end.
Initially there were a number of visits in each direction, including bluebell woods near Redditch, Nechells’ church anniversary and harvest Songs of Praise after a sumptuous tea in Mickleton. Ageing congregations and distance reduced the number of visits but the annual visit to Mickleton has survived, though it has been moved to a summer event as it tended to clash with a Nechells’ weekend away.
The picture here was taken much more recently in what was just a large patch of grass at the back of the church, but which has become the Three Bees Garden, attracting creatures from all three categories no doubt as well as others we can’t see! This garden is beginning to raise quite a lot of interest in ‘green’ issues in the village with various people helping to tend it and donate plants. Even the furniture is recycled plastic, bought with generous donations from the world of commerce.
It makes a wonderful site for open air worship including the Nechells/Redditch visit. Visitors usually arrive early enough for a walk round the village. This raised some eyebrows in what was then, though isn’t now, an almost entirely ‘white’ place, but very soon a few other people from the village chose to come and share this happy event, which now is an opportunity for renewing friendships across people from such differing backgrounds. Then, over tea, the hymns are chosen, almost always including, ‘Yes, God is good in earth and sky’, generally sung with great feeling in the beautiful surroundings. There is no problem with tunes as Nechells folk come in a minibus including a very capable organist.
I know that Mickleton Methodists relish this enriching link. Long may it continue, not defeated even by Covid 19.