Rev. Steve Wild’s Visit to the Leeds District

At just after 3pm on Sunday December 6th I picked Molly, Sheila, and Ruth to go to a special afternoon service at Trinity Methodist Church. We were to meet our wonderful charismatic Methodist President of Conference Rev. Steve Wild; he is the equivalent of the Arch Bishop of Canterbury in the Anglican Church, although the leaders of our church are only appointed for a year. The Vice President of Conference, Dr Jill Barber also took part in the service.
Worship began at 4pm when we sang, ‘Lo he comes with clouds descending’. Rev. Mark Godfrey our superintendent minister co-ordinated worship. Our minister Rev. Christine Gillespie led the opening prayers before we sang, ‘Give me joy in my heart keep me praising’. We heard the three readings, Malachi 3.1-4; Philippians 1.3-11; and Luke 3.1-6. Dr Jill Barber then led a talk on the work of ‘All We Can’, [formerly the Methodist Relief and Development Fund, MRDF] and discussed what she and Tim Baker, who works for the ‘All We Can’ had seen. She had brought slides to show which were very interesting, although due to technological failures they could only be seen intermittently on a small screen! Jill described how the land had been devastated by coal mining and the pits abandoned; having lost their livelihood the women were risking their lives getting coal out to sell; the large pieces of coal were so heavy that they were ruining their health; men then walked miles to sell the coal. All We Can were training the women to earn a living for their families from skills they were being given. They also provided helpful things like metal tubes to remove sweet corn from the stalks without damaging the women’s hands. The strength of All We Can is that they work in partnership with local communities to teach new skills and provide better equipment. Jill was also very much enjoying going round the country visiting different circuits and districts. The previous day she had been at Wesley Chapel seeing how our refurbishment had improved the use of our building for the community, whilst not spoiling its listed status.
Once Steve stood up to preach we were all captivated. His enthusiasm and genuine joy at sharing his faith came across. One morning when he was travelling on a train at 7.30 am, he saw a young man with cider and immediately felt concerned for him. So he just listened whilst the young man told him how his relationship with his partner had broken up and how his baby was in an incubator; he honestly said he could not really help with the mess he was in, but Jesus would be alongside him in the mess; he prayed with him for the baby and the young man thanked him. On another occasion he was on the train with his laptop, trying to prepare an article for the Methodist Recorder, when he realised he did not have his Bible with him! When a lady had got on the train earlier he had helped her with her luggage. He took out his mobile to ring a friend to look up the passages he needed. As soon as he did this the lady he had helped into the carriage said she had a bible he could borrow. She had just bought it after having come from Newcastle to lay her father’s ashes with her mother’s in Wales; she had been moved by the service and the peace she had felt and bought it. This meeting with Steve confirmed her in her new faith; another as I would call ‘God-incidence’ rather than a coincidence! Steve described his visit to Taisé in the 1970’s and had that had a profound influence on him. That reminded me of my visit to Taisé when I was 21, when I remember long queues for food, fascinating group discussions and especially the quiet reverent worship with the monks; I found the experience deeply moving and I still love the music from Taisé, especially when it is played in between prayers of intercession; a favourite is ‘O Lord hear my prayer, come and listen to me’.
Steve also explained how difficult he found it to pass his local preacher exams because of his dyslexia; he kept failing the exams, but his natural gifts of evangelism led him to being accredited and then becoming a minister. He talked with warmth of the chapels in Cornwall, the area over which he is the chairman, [equivalent to being a local bishop in the Anglican Church]. He is actually a Lancastrian and has enjoyed returning to his roots and meeting new people in our Leeds District. On the previous day he was at Woodlands Chapel, where he met the local people who were enjoying the community garden, set up behind the chapel.
After he had preached the glitches with the screens displaying the hymns stopped and we sang, ‘O come, o come Emmanuel’. The offering was taken for the work of ‘All we can.’ It was an inspiring service which left us feeling uplifted and encouraged. I spoke to him at the end before I took my passengers back home; he made me feel as though I were the only person there! It was a privilege to meet him. He has the charisma and openness to where God is leading him daily, which enables him to lead many people as individuals to faith in Christ. That is such a great joy I am sure and maybe one day I will be the last link and lead someone to meet our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus.

This entry was posted in Bible, Faith/Personal, Fund Raising, Garden, Miscellaneous/Personal, Music and Musicals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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