YMCA update

It's 2.44 in the morning and for a variety of reasons this is the hardest sleepout of the 5 I’ve done.


Feels claustrophobic in my box; I’m aware of my cold and the snuffling noises it creates (sorry for those around me); first time I’ve had to wear hat and gloves ‘cos the temperature is down.


And I choose to do this for one night a year, what about all those who have no choice and sleep out every night ?


I choose to bring hats, gloves, thick coat, have a box and a pillow, what about those who can’t ?


I sleep safely in the company of like minded souls, what about those fearful of muggers, hooligans or worse ?


I choose to help …………….


Why ? John Wesley spoke of a social gospel, which sought to alleviate need. Coming from an age of philanthropists where it was considered normal for the wealthy to create social conditions which benefitted others, the Cadburys in their creation of Bournville, Barnado, Angela Burdett-Coutts, Florence Nightingale and many others, there is a rich heritage of helping.

Thankfully we have our philanthropists of today, Bill Gates and his drive to eradicate polio, Bono setting up a foundation to help 3rd world people, Elton John supporting AIDS charities, David Beckham offering a years wages to the charities of Paris and many more.

I can't offer such wealth, few of us can, but like Wesley we can seek to do 'all we can' (also the current name of the Methodist Church relief charity), and tonight I'm doing what I can.

The YMCA literally changes lives: so far tonight we've raised over £27,000 and experience shows more will yet come in, which will help to get people out of cardboard boxes, off the streets, away from danger and into safe, secure housing.

I choose to help


YMCA sleepout

Only two days and the temperature is plummeting !

What am I referring to ? The annual YMCA sleepout, of course. This will be my fifth year of sleeping out for a very worthwhile charity that does so much in Burton and District (Tamworth to Uttoxeter). I'm proud to be associated with them and this is just a small part of helping them. This year they're looking to establish a night shelter from Dec to March, alongside trying to get the rough sleepers into longer term accommodation and ultimately permanent housing.

As my diary eases off I'm hoping to be able to volunteer to help with that occasionally as well, as part of my circuit brief to be a witness in the town centre, and what better a witness than trying to draw alongside people in their time of need.

Please consider sponsoring me at Http//uk.virginmoneygiving.co./MikeRedshaw



Time out

What is most needed in our lives ? So often many of us are running around full of busy, for we live in a culture which is time pressured and task orientated. This weekend we are having our annual time away with good friends, their family and now their grandchildren also, spending time in the High Peaks of Derbyshire.

After the busy pressure of moving house, the full-on task of acting as co-deputy Chair of District as well as Superintendent Minister its good to simply stop, relax and chill.

So why the need to go from this (left) to this (below right) ?

We’ve conned ourselves, as a world, into thinking that business is the be all and end all of our existence and yet we weren’t created simply to burn ourselves out pursuing often meaningless tasks.

When we look at the creation account in Genesis (whether we view it as literal or not) what is clear is that the creation is there to be enjoyed, not missed in the pursuit of materialism. Jesus didn’t speak of the need to be endlessly busy, but he spoke of the building of Gods Temple, our bodies, both physically and spiritually.

AND I’m fully aware that as you read this some of you will be thinking of the old saying “pot calling kettle black” and yes I know that I fall into the trap of endlessly looking for something to do; perhaps taking on the worlds mentality that if I’m not busy then Im failing in some way. I put it own to boredom, what will others think or some other pathetic excuse when in reality its because I haven’t fully learnt the art of relaxation.

This is why I value this time each year, because those around me don’t allow me the opportunity to be busy; the hardest decision lies between where are we going tomorrow and which book shall I read next. The children in the group remove from my mind all things ‘churchy’ because even the Methodist Church can’t compare with Peppa Pig or “in the night garden”although at times Christians could learn so much from these programmes. When I’m with the children I cuddle Anna from Frozen because I’m told to, Im dragged by the finger around this massive house we’re staying in and I’m afforded no time to stop and think of Church.

Even after they’ve gone to bed there are  conversations to be had over a glass of wine, pool to be played, silliness to be shared and good friendships renewed yet again.

Mark 1:35-37 shows that even Jesus needed ‘time-out’ alone and away from those around him; batteries need to be recharged and we all need to get off the treadmill we call life, for if we don’t it will consume us and ultimately be damaging to our spiritual and physical well being. Methodist Ministers are expected, every quarter, to take 3 consecutive days off from work, every 7 years to take 3 months out to do something different.

So, each year, because I don’t always succeed at the quarter days, its good to get away from it all, and take ourselves off to a remote cottage with friends.

This year we’re in the High Peak in a magnificent old house with that many bedrooms and passages that its easy to get lost, and most importantly it seems to be miles from anywhere; wonderful !!