………………….and so the days go by.

Into the third week of my sabbatical now and things are starting to settle down and a different rhythm to life is emerging; a mixture of walking, reading and chilling mixed with the excitement of having a bit more time to visit family and friends.

I spent this last weekend in Oldham visiting Judith, a very dear friend, and spending time with some of the Church folk at one of my first Churches, Hollins Millgate. It was lovely to see them all again, and to feel as though we simply picked up where we had left off 19 years ago when I was a young (!), fresh-faced (!), naive (certainly) Probationer Minister. Oldham, as my very first Ministerial appointment, will always have a special place in my heart. The good folk of the Chapel and also of Limeside Chapel also graciously filled in some of my hearing questionnaires meaning that side of my sabbatical is up and running. So far there are over 100 such questionnaires out and only 15 returned so I look forward to receiving more over the next week or so.

Spent a lovely time with the family on Monday, with Rebecca, Michelle, Vikki and Mark (and our future grandchild, the bump!) and that was special. I really do love them all.

Today I`m going to travel up to see Dad for a couple of days (should`ve gone yesterday but circumstances delayed it by a day) and tomorrow on to see Andrew, my brother, who is in hospital at the moment for a knee operation.

That is what is special about this time; it makes you aware that you lay so much aside for Ministry and for the Church that the relationships that most people rely on become the very ones at risk because there isn`t the time to pursue them properly. In my `low` times I sometimes wonder if the Church fully grasps the sacrifices made by Presbyters and Deacons in pursuance of serving the Church. That is not a grumble, merely and observance.

But then the Church does something special and grants three months in which that time can be recovered, or at least some of it, and this is why I am thoroughly appreciating the gift of time that I`ve been given. In few other professions is time granted to `simply be`.

Thank you all so much

The opening of The Trinity in pictures


Nearly three weeks ago I was part of the re-opening of the former Trinity Chapel here in Burton, as a hair and beauty salon. It occurs to me that, although my FaceBook friends have seen the photos others haven't: so here they are beginning with the cutting of the ribbon by Andrew Griffiths our local MP and then some interior shots, prior to the opening.

The bar is run by Langans serving tea, coffee and cakes and apparently has been crafted from some of the old pews. Other pews are held at the rear of the central area and still on the balcony.
I think that they've done a remarkable job in blending the traditional with the modern and best of all both Steve the owner and Suk Ram the owner of Wowow (the hair salon) are seeking my involvement and are wanting members of the Circuit to 'pop-in' for a look.


Week 1 is over

Dear Friends


I promised that I would write periodically to let you all know what I`m up to on my sabbatical. Well I’m now into my second week and it still seems strange not seeing any of you regularly, not being involved in what is happening in the circuit or wider Methodism, and not having a regular routine yet.

However that’s not to say that things haven’t happened since I stepped back, but this first week was always going to be a time of relaxing/`chilling out` and so that is largely what I`ve been doing.

As reported in my last letter I closed the working time with a final event at the former Trinity Chapel in Burton being part of the re-opening team with Andrew Griffiths our local MP, seeing it established as a hair and beauty salon. It was a splendid evening, engaging in significant conversations about faith, history of Trinity and future possibilities in the venue: it really does feel like God hasn`t `left the building`. I know I`m an enthusiast but it’s this sort of event that ignites my passion for sharing Jesus and raises my confidence in Fresh Expressions of Church. If you`re in that corner of Burton then feel free to pop in and either have a chat with Steve the owner or Suk Ram the hair stylist of WoWow. They`ll be pleased to spend a few minutes with you, perhaps have a coffee from the Langans counter and show you around: Steve’s vision has been very much to keep the `feel` of the old Trinity Church within a modern setting and I think he`s achieved it.

I then visited the Crich Methodist Church Anniversary service on the following day as they celebrated 250 years of Methodism on that site and within that village. The President of Conference was preaching and the entire service can be found on YouTube.

Midweek I paid a visit to Bletchley Park with my Rotary Club where we saw the enigma coding machines and the Bombe decoding device. Of course Bletchley Park was one of the country’s best kept secrets until fairly recently because of the secretive nature of its codebreakers, but within this last year it has become synonymous with the name of Alan Turing, the genius who led the way in developing the codebreaking machines which were a part of the early development of computers.

A fascinating day out and as Alison sadly couldn`t be with us I think I`ll be travelling back down there again to show her around.

On Sunday past I worshipped in Elim Pentecostal Church in Burton as I think it’s important to my role of representing Methodism within the town centre; what a lovely, warm welcome I received from them; I truly do have the privilege of feeling part of each worshipping community within the town itself.

Monday and Tuesday of this week found Alison and I travelling down to Leavesden near Watford for a tour of the Harry Patter studios. To those who haven’t followed the Harry Potter story that may not seem like much but to those of us who lived and breathed Harry Potter during the regular production of books and films this was delightful. Two very good friends had bought tickets for Alison and I for my birthday and this was our first chance to go; brilliant, amazing, fascinating, informative—-I could go on and on (and possibly will !) it was a great day out.

And now I need to turn my attention to my Celtic Christian studies which I began in January. So far I have received good reports from each monthly essay I`ve sent in, but now my thoughts really do turn to stepping those studies up in depth, partly in preparation for the pilgrimage later following in the footsteps of St. Cuthbert.

I also need to reassess my questionnaire on the relationship between the Church and deafness in the light of some comments received; I think that’s a task for this afternoon. Next week I`m travelling to Oldham to discuss this questionnaire with some folk and discover how they feel that the Church treats deaf people.


HOWEVER, in the meantime the news that the Redshaws have been waiting to tell you all (and I`m sorry not to see you with this news) is that we can now announce that this is the year in which Alison and I become grandparents !  yes, Vikki and Mark are going to become parents in November and Alison and I are absolutely over the moon with the news. Already Alison has started calling me “Grumpy Gramps”. We`ve had to keep quiet about it for several weeks now until the 12 week scan but can now celebrate. So if you see me around the area with an inane grin on my face you`ll know why !!

I continue to give thanks to the Methodist Church and to the people of the Trent and Dive Methodist Circuit for allowing me this extended period of study leave; it is a wonderful gift and much appreciated.

Trinity Methodist Chapel

Tonight, I will have the privilege of being a part of the re-opening of Trinity Methodist Church as The Trinity, a health and beauty venue.

I know that when you look at me I don't exactly exude either of the two above virtues: I know I don't speak of robust health and it's a long time since I was described as beautiful (about 54 years probably), but there is a reason for my invite.

The former Chapel is where I knelt 22 years ago next month to be Ordained into the Methodist Ministry. Sadly it closed about three years ago, but it will re-open tonight and I've been asked to bless the building into its new usage. Combined with my love of Langans tea rooms next door, their work with the Burton Addiction Centre, their generosity in hosting our MSM course it feels as though Gods starting a new work in this corner of Burton. Please pray for my witness tonight that it be gentle, sensitive and that through it Jesus will shine.


Below, is the prayer and short talk I will use…………

Good evening, my name is Revd Mike Redshaw and I'm the Superintendent Methodist Minister for the town and surrounding areas reaching out to Uttoxeter. Superintendent simply means that I'm afforded the privilege of thinking I'm in charge.

This Chapel was built on George Street in 1860 as part of the United Methodist Free Church movement. The hall next door was converted from a malting site using the same architects as for the adjoining Liberal club, now Langans.

Much has happened in the life of this building over the years; good quality youth work, particularly on the Girl Guide movement, excellent choirs and a high standard of music, and in its time this Chapel was considered to be of the highest and most influential of the Methodist Churches in the town. Many have passed through these doors, including town mayors (5 of the first 17) and in 1913 half the Aldermen of the town.

It will always be personal to me for in June 1993 I was ordained into Ministry on that very spot; 22 years ago.

As a Chapel it has always stood for wholesomeness and creativity in life; as a place of peace and relaxation and as somewhere that can benefit others. It's therefore a privilege to be invited to be a part of this opening tonight, and to ask Gods blessing on this new stage in the life of this building.

Not everyone who is here tonight will believe in prayer or blessing, but I ask all of us just to be still and reflect as I offer a few words,

“Almighty God, Father in Heaven, we give you thanks for all that has happened over the years in this place; for its joys and sorrows, for its laughter and tears, for lives in this place. Now we ask your blessing upon this new venture, upon all who will work here, upon the conversations of this place, and upon the lives of all who will visit. May this continue to be a place of peace, of joy and of wholesome activity where lives will be enhanced and enriched.

Heavenly Father, may the blessing of Jesus Christ be upon The Trinity this day and always.