For the first time this year Mary, Joseph and the donkey, #Posada2019, have been seen, beginning their journey towards Church.
In the hills, north of Manchester in Rossendale the Posada figures began their 2019 journey at a lovely Place of Welcome. Many local communities around the country are creating ‘Places of Welcome‘ – places ‘where all people feel safe to belong, connect and contribute.’
Parish churches in England have long tried to be places where people of whatever belief or outlook can come for prayer, worship, care and welcome. Several churches have joined the Places of Welcome initiative to provide a place where everyone can go for a friendly face, a cup of tea and a conversation if and when they need it. St Nicholas, Newchurch opens its doors each Thursday morning to be such a place of welcome. For the community it offers ‘a friendly space to meet, share and chat, or just to be. Games, craft projects and newspapers are available.’
Our Posada figures found a lovely welcome at Newchurch on a Thursday morning, and made friends with the Vicar – a well known figure to many at St Chrysostom’s – Penny, former parish assistant.
The welcome from Priest and people extended to kind hospitality and conversation over cups of coffee, cake and craft and a look around the fascinating and well kept church, and churchyard.
A special and fascinating project at St Nicholas focusses around the enormous and old churchyard. Penny told us about the many activities, supported by National Lottery Heritage Funds, drawing in members of the local community. These include bat walks, watching wildlife through special cameras, woodland management, basket weaving, and learning new skills such as dry stone walling.
All in all Posada found St Nicholas to be a place of welcome indeed – not only for people going into the church, but also serving the local community … and its wild life.
Thank you to Penny and the people of St Nicholas – what an encouraging start to #Posada2019.