In early March, 15 or so Bishops descended upon Liverpool Diocese to take part in the Tell, Serve, Give Mission. Each Bishop brought with them a team of people from their area who were enthusiastic and hard working, ready to help the local churches in their mission events. Each Bishop was posted to a deanery, and we in Sefton North hosted Bishop Pete from Sheffield. He was accompanied by a team of 6; Chris, John, Jane, Jakki, Hazel and Sophie.
They arrived at the Cathedral for a commissioning service (pictured above), and then came to St Stephen’s, Hightown for Evening Prayer with tea and scones. We prayed together, asking that God would equip us all for what was to come… and then it began! The mission was underway, and what followed was an action packed few days of events, chatter and excellent food and drink.
Between us, the churches in Sefton North put together a creative and varied programme which kept the team very busy- and well fed! Over the weekend, there were 3 ladies nights, 2 men’s events, 2 school visits, Messy Church, Craftivism, a toddler group, a youth group and a Humans VS Zombies night. Added to that, there was Heavenly Food, bacon butties, a visit to Storyhouse coffee shop, 2 coffee mornings, a brewery tour and a beach clean- which the Archbishop himself attended! There were, of course, many opportunities for prayer, from Blessings to Go in Maghull to prayer time for the team every day. On Sunday, many churches were visited by members of the team and we finished with lunch all together before they went back over the hills to Sheffield.
The team felt that the mission was a success, with a full and dynamic programme which they could really got stuck into. They were never bored and had many conversations with people who wouldn’t say that they went to church. This was wonderful because it meant that the people in our churches felt they could invite friends who aren’t religious, and that these people were up for a chat when they came. It gave us all, not just the team, the opportunity to tell our stories and share our faith with others.
From my perspective as a Deanery Advocate, the mission went really well. I did a lot of driving over the weekend, getting people from one place to another. I was mostly gutted to not be everywhere at once! But it was so good to hear feedback from all the events and listen to the stories from the team as they reported back each day.
A personal highlight for me was hearing young people looking for ‘Jesus cards’ at the Humans VS Zombies night, so that they could be ‘resurrected’ if they got turned into a zombie! I also liked hearing how useful the ladies/men’s events were for drawing in people who wouldn’t usually feel comfortable coming to a social event. Another highlight was seeing the nave at church turned from rows of chairs into a huge coffee morning with chairs around tables- what I had been picturing the church being used for since I arrived!
There’s no way to know exactly how much good the mission has done. Only God can know that! But I heard stories of lives transformed through conversation and prayer, forgiveness and healing, as well as people feeling able to bring friends to church events for the first time. Churches are beginning to think more creatively about how they can do mission long term, and many people have asked when we can do it again!
I am so grateful for the hard work of everyone involved. On reflection, it seems that from Tell, Serve, Give many people are excited about mission and asking when more events like these can take place. Please do be praying about how you can reach out into the community and show God’s love even more. The most important thing to remember is that the mission didn’t end when the bishops and their teams went home- it just got started!