Visited briefly the Spurriergate Centre in York. Interesting project which is based in the Church of St. Michael`s, Spurriergate, and has operated since 1989.
Arising out of a casual conversation between the Vicar of St. Michael-le-Belfry and the Archdeacon of York a desire grew to create something new in the building of a long established Church (dating in parts back to the 12th Century).
The aims of the centre are……….
To serve the people of York and its visitors
To promote justice in trading through retail operation and education
To offer a listening ear
To share the Good News of Jesus
Staffed by people from a variety of local churches it offers a superb menu with an open plan kitchen so that you can see exactly whats going on. Its well worth paying a visit for the food if you`re ever in York.
As I sat with my cup of coffee I remembered that the last time I was int his building was on my last sabbatical, seven years ago, when I was part of a travelling theatre group and we were performing in York. The local theatre had arranged for us to have an early evening meal in the Spurriergate Centre. What a co-incedence !!
I certainly won`t wait for my next sabbatical before I attend again.
But its more than just a cafe, run by Christians. It also operates a listening and counselling service for anyone who needs is. The counselling service is run by professional, qualified staff and offers a Christian response to peoples needs.
Thirdly, it also offers a prayer service. As I sat I noticed that on the balcony there was a prayer space. Dotted around the building were prayer request slips so that prayers could be offered on behalf of the customers, always in confidence.
What do I make of it all ? In the middle of a large, bustling, tourist filled city is a group of people meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those who are in need of them. This is truly a Christian presence in the world, and whilst it may not be the way forward for every church it has surely been a wonderful way of bringing the Kingdom of Christ into York. I commend it to anyone thinking of visiting the City.
You can visit online at www.thespurrergatecentre.com
It also reminded me of the Salt Cellar in Oldham, a similar project that I was involved with and it has resolved my determination to perhaps return there and see how they`re getting on.