Oliver completed his time at St Chrysostom’s at the end of June 2010. Here he lists seven highlights of his work as parish assistant.
1) Working at the Parish Schools: I’ve enjoyed sharing in the daily life of the two Parish Schools, particularly at Munamato on Tuesday mornings. A particular highlight has been watching children new to the school grow in confidence in our sessions by making friends and having fun together.
2) Shopping at Longsight Market: The market sells everything from Caribbean groceries to Sari dress material. It has been a stimulating experience to live in a community made up of such a broad spectrum of cultures and understandings.
3) The Easter Vigil: It was wonderful to celebrate at Easter vigil Mass together. The Church, which had been for forty days in Lent, was filled again with colour and rich imagery, with beautiful Easter hangings and flowers. A memorable time of wonderful worship!
4) My own personal development: It has been helpful to reflect with others on my work at St Chrysostom’s, with members of staff or with a spiritual director, and the wide varieties of experience the placement affords has challenged my outlook in many areas and affirmed it in others.
5) Working at St Luke’s drop in: My 8 week placement at the neighbouring Parish of St Luke’s at the mental health drop in provided a very different insight into the work of Church in inner city Manchester.
6) Trying different food: Whether it’s drinking cardamom tea in an Arabic café or trying Nigerian food for the first time, the Parish encompasses homes and businesses which serve food from all over the world!
7) Pastoral visiting and hospitality: A particularly joyful part of my work has been visiting parishioners at their homes, and any initial nervousness I had about visiting was soon put an end to by their warm welcome generous hospitality. Welcome has been an abiding theme of my time as Parish assistant from people at Church and from those who live and work in our local community.
Thank you, Oliver, for this varied and interesting list! We thank Oliver for all he did at St Chrysostom’s and pray for him as he continues to explore his calling.