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Urban ministry November 8, 2010

Posted by charleswread in Uncategorized.

We have just had a residential weekend for ministry students in our region and our formational theme for the weekend was Urban and Suburban ministry. I led this with my colleague Liz Griffiths.

Two things struck us as we prepared this. First, we were both getting nostalgic as we looked over our times ministering in the city and in other urban environments. I wanted to talk a bit about Hulme and Moss Side where I lived as a student 30 years ago, and to which we return when visiting family and friends in Manchester (my father in law still lives near Moss Side and one of our best friends is a vicar near there).  I found a website with photos and videos of the area from that era:


I was getting quite dewey eyed as I looked at this site and remembered student days there. Then I realised I had conveniently forgotten  some of the less than pleasant things about it, including:

  • the cockroaches in the flats and how hard it was to get rid of them
  • the fact the lifts never worked, we lived up twelve fights of stairs and the stairways stank of urine
  • as we walked to church one Sunday morning some kids threw tomatos at us from the walkway. Unforunately they were still in the tin.
  • the Moss Side riots – I slept through the first night of rioting!
  • the dead cat someone left on the walkway near our flat and the fact no-one could or would clear it up.

Then the other thing that Liz and I reflected on was how, when we were ordinands (me at Nottingham from 1986-88, she at Cuddesdon a decade later), serving in an inner city or other urban parish was promoted as something we should seriously consider – indeed maybe (so it felt to me) as the place where you should go. I don’t think there is that emphasis in ministerial training institutions now – or am I living a sheltered life?

Anyway, we enjoyed teaching this, so there were at least two happy people at this residential weekend! And the students (and staff) remain excellent people….

Hulme as it was then - not Lingbeck crescent (where I lived) but very like it



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