Bede Methodist Circuit
Monday & Friday
11:00am - 3:00pm
11:00am - 2:00pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday - and on Bank Holidays
Our Team Members
Grace Place – now has a permanent residence – So come and see us at the bottom of Fowler Street next to Charlie and Carter Cookson Foundation shop (20 Denmark Centre)
Our visitors come from across the social spectrum. Homeless, vulnerable through mental health issues, lonely elderly, or just passing by – we usually have someone at the door inviting in passers-by.
Over the years we have gathered many regulars, on first-name terms with most of them. We know how they like their hot drinks, we know their foibles. They have made friends and will sit and chat with each other
We don’t evangelise directly – the aim is to show the face of Jesus – but we offer prayer, either by writing on a luggage label to hang on the prayer tree, or to actually pray with a visitor in the space we call “the Chapel”
We have a selection of booklets and leaflets are available (Why Jesus? Try praying. Lifewords books). We offer a hot drink and scone, and sit and talk with the visitors
We have information on drop-ins, soup kitchens, food banks, Samaritans and other agencies within South Tyneside and a collection point for goods for one of the food banks. We have a Messy Church-style craft table for young people, but many of the adults use it too
HOW IT STARTED
It started in 2014 when West Harton Methodist Church rented a shop in the main street for 6 weeks at Easter, to show the face of Jesus to the folk of Shields. It offered a cuppa and a scone, a “Messy” table, and an exhibition of showing our love of family, our love for others and God’s love for us. We had a chapel to pray with or for visitors, and a prayer wall. We thought it was a one-off, but as Christmas approached we opened again, proclaiming Christmas Starts with Christ, and after that we opened for six weeks every Easter and Christmas as a pop-up often in different premises as the empty shops were taken up. After Easter 2018, our regulars didn’t want us to close, and we started to feel the nudge towards opening on a permanent basis. It became a circuit project, our landlord at the time offered us favourable rates and we sought funding. The Methodist Church, at Circuit, District and Connexional level have generously awarded us funding almost entirely for 5 years. We were able to open all year round and employ a manager. Unfortunately, just as the funding came through, the Landlord needed the property for someone else and we had to move temporarily. Covid-19 struck and we had to close altogether, opening for a few weeks in late summer and then closing again. After a further move, we are now in our permanent home, the best property of the lot.