Walking the Way in Wales and Northern

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Growing Leaders participants from Northern Synod (left) and Bethesda Chapel, Tongwynlys declares itself a safe space (right)

Walking the Way project manager, Simon Peters, spends a good deal of his time looking for real life examples of faith being lived out in everyday life. Recently, this quest took him to Northern Synod and the National Synod of Wales, which he shares more about here.

In Northern synod, I met with participants in the ecumenically run CPAS Growing Leaders course. It is clear that participants have developed such confidence in their own faith and abilities that they are now able to influence growth and transformation in their own congregations. For example, Robert Stewart Memorial Church in Fenham, by bringing people of varying ethnic and cultural groups together, and Roker URC in Sunderland, with its Social Chef programme, Pilots company, arts/crafts and theatre, are both able to notice and respond to the needs of the local community in a spirit of Christian love, following the Jesus Way. An inspiring event looking at Christian social enterprise, run by HeartEdge, rounded off my time in the North with further stories and strategies for Walking the Way locally.

In Wales, I had the opportunity to attend the synod’s Mission and Discipleship Council, which takes lots of different pieces of the synods life and work, organising them under the heading of whole-of-life discipleship to ensure that, in all the synod is doing, people are being equipped to live out their faith in everyday life. Visits to Bethesda Chapel in Tongwynlys, which moved away from its image in the village of being hidden behind a tree, to become a safe place to receive a warm welcome and have a chat about life’s important issues, and to St David’s Uniting Church in Pontypridd, also brought forth stories of generations working together to recognise God’s presence in every aspect of life and enable people to reach their full potential as disciples of Jesus. The synod’s Big Day Out finished the week with a fantastic celebration of the hard work churches are doing across Wales to enrich their congregations and communities through the power of the Gospel. How encouraging!

Simon will be taking time to unpack what he has seen and learned on these trips in further detail, so look out for more stories and findings, coming soon. His visits to synods and local churches to gather stories of whole-of-life discipleship also continue, so look out for him coming your way...

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