Over the last few months, we have been making changes to the kitchen area here at SWE. We now have a new boiler installed, which provides hot water directly to the taps, as well as a new shiny sink for food preparation.
It certainly makes a difference, as it helps us to use the kitchen more efficiently. We look forward to the colder days when we can appreciate the new boiler providing the heating too.
On Wednesday, 7th of June six facilitators met with Heather, our trainer, to complete refresher training about how to help our visitors. We learnt what to do if they added the yeast to the flour and not the water; how to recognise if a loaf is over or under proved and what happens if you under or over bake a loaf. All useful information for each one of us.
All who attended found it most useful. A further gorup are to meet on Saturday, the 5th of August to complete their refresher training.
Thanks to Heather for organising such an information and useful day.
The image shows what happens if you overknead a loaf and it is then overproved. It gets a lip on it!
Yippee! We now have an operating lift. The lift can hold two people. Three at a squeeze and will also carry a wheelchair.
We are very grateful to our landladies, the 'Amazons' of News from Nowhere.
We had an official opening and blessing. Pete snipped the string, Lorraine said a blessing and Heather with Tracy went up and down in it.
Before Christmas, we packed 50 Toiletry bags for the Homeless at the last session prior to the holiday. After we had shared communion with Reverend Karen Beecham, nine of us then went out into the city to hand the bags out.
19 bags were given out, as well as pairs of socks. Reverend Karen also shared communion with those who wished to partake. As one of our group later said, "It was a real Christmas blessing for us all."
On Wednesday, 27th of July, the community of Somewhere Else welcomed 21 visitors from seven European countries (Spain, France, Czech Republic - Czechia, Romania, Germany and Poland, as well as GB); to bake bread together. The visitors were part of the "I will heal my people" conference being held in Liverpool, based at Hope University from the 25th - 1 August, 2022.
The IEF is a fellowship of Christians "from many denominations, who are challenged by the prayer of Jesus Christ: "that they may all be one" (John 17,21)." They group are "committed to the conciliar process of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
Andrew welcomed the group and explained the history of Somewhere Else, Heather led the breadmaking - ably assisted by two of the visitors translating into Spanish and French, whilst the faciliatators supported the group as they baked their loaves. We also helped answer questions about the Methodist Church when compared to Orthodox denominations.
It was a stimulating day, full of friendship and conversation. Here are some images of the event.
As part of the Liverpool Food Festival which took place over the Jubilee Weekend, the community of Somewhere Else hosted a "Feeding Body and Soul" event from 10.30 am until 3.30 pm on FRIDAY, 3RD JUNE.
Visitors came, rested and left restored after walking our labyrinth based around the ingredients of our bread recipe!
They also took home a bread roll made to our recipe to remind them of the event.
Follow this link to find out how the day went and view the photographs: Feeding Body & Soul.
On Shrove Tuesday, we learnt about the history of this day. Of communities preparing for Lent - the 40 days leading up to Easter, which was traditionally a time for fasting. Of Anglo-Saxon Christians going to confession to be "shriven" of their sins and of the traditions that are associated with this day: pancake races, mob football games and skipping on the promenade in Scarborough.
Leaving sweetness behind
Eggs mix with flour, milk and salt
Now we fast....
Turn towards life for all at Easter.
A gentle day on Thursday with a select few making scones for friends and family. We enjoyed baking in community, sharing stories and reflecting on Jesus in the Wilderness. Evariste shared his experience of fasting for three days.
A2B morning about wellbeing.
Today, we used our "happy places and colours" to inspire us to make abstract art about our lives. Each person used tissue paper, or images from magazines, glue and string to design our pictures.
The room was very quiet during the morning, as people thought about where to place the colours and reflected on their lives. We were mindful that we also have times in our lives when we are sad or hurt by events. This we placed on the picture in the form of pieces of string.
After they had been completed, then some of us shared our stories which led to further discussion.
We concluded by listening to the Serenity Prayer by Rheinhold Niebuhr. Which reminds us that we should, "Begin to build a life that is conducive to peace, serenity, and tranquility," as Matthew Kelly says in his "Life is messy" book.
Many of us find this peace when we sit in silence with God.
At the end of August we said "Farewell to Chris" at the end of his One Programme Participant year with us. We have sewn wheat seeds, tended them, harvested and baked with them and all because of Chris, despite the pandemic preventing us from meeting in person until August of this year.
During this time, he has fed us spiritually through his monthly newsletters, helped bake bread and fill spongebags for the homeless and lead us in reflections on Zoom.
We will miss him as he begins his new life and job in north Manchester. All the very best Chris. May God continue to bless all that you do.
Our first Grain.Gather. Grow. Harvest event took place on the 10th of August, 2021.
What a wonderful time of fellowship, reflection and fun; turning wheat into grain, chaff, flour then bread. As an Eco Church, we are going to use the chaff and the stalks for craft work in the Autumn.
Thank you to the Rev. Carole Natton for leading us in a blessing of the bread, which was then shared.
We have been truly blessed by this project over the last year. We are especially thankful for all Chris, our OPP, has done in leading us in this project.
Our first day of "harvest" was followed by two further days on the Thursday and Saturday. All who attended expressed their gratitude and thanks to Chris for thinking of this wonderful project. We were joined by the Chair of the Liverpool District, the Rev'd Dr. Sheryl Anderson on the Thursday, as well as Rev'd Karen Beecham of the Formby Circuit, who 'blessed the bread', which we then shared.
It was good to see different generations join together in fellowship. See the image of Margaret and Michael below milling their grain.
Check out the Grain. Gather. Grow. page of our website to read the newsletters.
On the 8th of July, we said farewell to Josie, by a small group of us meeting to share reflections and worship together at Bold Street.
As part of the morning, we held a craft training session and made "Hugs", which we are hoping to make with the community when we reopen, during our Alternative 2 Bread sessions.
It was a time of intense concentration and quiet reflection, as people stitched away. Andrew, our Senior Steward, led us in a time of reflection and prayers, prior to presenting Josie with two books: Reverend Miranda Threfall- Holmes's "How to Eat Bread - 21 Nourishing Ways to Read the Bible" and Joy Mead's "The One Loaf". After the presentation, we held a buffet lunch; socially distanced.
Here are some photographs of the time, showing our facilitators in deep concentration sewing: there was silence in the room for a while!
Barbara, the founding minister of Somewhere Else, talks about Somewhere Else and how " very proud" she is of the SWE community in her discussion with Kieran, the co-ordinator of Open Table, the LGBTQIA+ Christian organisation of which she is a patron.
Barbara and Kieron first met about 15 years ago at Somewhere Else.
Watch the interview here.
Congratulations to the team of SWE and a big "THANK YOU" to Chris, our OPP, who encouraged us to apply for status as an Eco Church and then completed the application for this award on our behalf. We are now aiming to complete the criteria to achieve the Silver Award.
Follow this link to find out about the Eco Church A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth.
Christian Aid Week - 70 years
To mark Christian Aid Week -10th to the 16th of May, we engaged with their campaign to get people praying for climate justice.
We were asked to join in with a prayer when we made a brew throughout Christian Aid week, in solidarity with climate justice for Kenya.
Our fabulous tapestry made by the community of SWE "Clicking and Connecting" knitters and crocheters, was mounted on the wall of the Cloud Room over the Easter period. This room is where we usually hold our Reflections worship. Thanks to all who took part and for Andrew for fixing the tapestry on the wall. Read Heather's reflection on this by clicking here.
As part of our commitment to social justice, the Trustees of Somewhere Else decided to join the initiative of toilet twinning, which Lorraine had spoken about during her Lent Reflection on Water. The scheme is run by www.toilettwinning.org if you wish to find out more.
Toilettwinning.org help to provide the materials and expertise to build latrines in parts of the world that do not have running water and toilets in their homes. The organisation provides education to families to help them to build a toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene - which all help to save lives. The organisation also funds building water standpipe taps to help with hygiene, particularly since the Coronavirus Pandemic.
We originally funded two toilets in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We then received a letter to say that a generous sponsor had funded an extra toilet! So we now have another toilet that we have been able to twin with in Zambia.
The certificates will be displayed in the toilet facilities at Bold Street.
Our community enjoyed following the story of Holy Week by baking different items, which helped focus our thoughts. It was great fun and our friends and families enjoyed the fruits of our labour. Follow this link to the Baking through Holy Week page.
Learning to bake something new together. That was the theme of Saturday, the 27th of March's baking. Some of the community of SWE were able to meet via Zoom; to learn how to make the traditional Shabbat (Sabbath) Jewish bread, which was appropriate, as at dusk that evening Jewish communities across the world were beginning their Passover meals.
We all enjoined learning something new together and during the reflection time, when we learnt about the history of challah and its significance, we talked about how we were a little anxious about trying something new, but learning and sharing together meant that we had a real "community" spirit.
Heather's Mum's Easter biscuit recipe was also baked, whilst we waited for the Challah to prove. This recipe proved as equally as popular, as we all couldn't resist eating a biscuit (or two) during our drink and chat break!
Thanks to all who came and shared in fellowship. Why not join in on the last Saturday's baking in April?
Whilst baking bread on the 27th of February via Zoom, the baking community of SWE discussed how and what we recycle, which tea bags are compostable and alternatives to cling film to help our bread rise if we don't have an airing cupboard like Peter has! Lorraine suggested using a new shower cap which Nigella Lawson used on one of her recent baking programmes on TV! All this discussion is important, as Somewhere Else is hoping to become a recognised Eco church. Look out for more information about this over the coming months.
In the meantime, see the delicious bread and ways that people enjoyed their bakes. One of our first time bakers said, " I really enjoyed the session and feel inspired to continue baking bread (which I haven’t done for quite a long time) and to take some to elderly neighbours. They certainly enjoyed the rolls I took around yesterday. ( I live in a retirement community.)" We are pleased that they are sharing their bread with others, as we encourage people to Bold Street to do.
Next session takes place on 27th of March at 10 am via zoom. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link nearer to the date.
"It was the best thing I did all week - relaxing, stimulating and fun", so one of the people who attended the bread making session declared.
Not only do we bake bread together, but we chat about diverse subjects. On Saturday, these included the book "War and Peace", reading groups, where we would like to holiday when we are able, Forgiveness and what the Bible has to say about this, as well as how we are all coping during lockdown.
Just as when we are at Bold Street; we shared a time of fellowship - Reflection. Heather led us in discussing "Where have we seen light this week?" We thought about contacting people via phone, Zoom and in person, the NHS giving vaccines to the vulnerable, being together breadmaking, as well as taking the bread out to others in our local communities. Importantly, each light a candle and pray together.
We then showed the results of our baking. Look at all the different breads from focaccio, plaited loaves, rolls, spelt loaves, wholemeal and white loaves that were made.
If you weren't able to join us on Saturday, 30th of January, then do send an email to email@example.com if you wish to join the next session on Saturday, 27th February. We are now aiming to bake together via Zoom on the last Saturday of each month.
On Wednesday, 23rd of December, six members of the SWE community met for an hour to pack the Spongebags for the Homeless. This year, in addition to the usual self-care items, we added a bottle of sanitising gel and some face masks. Forty were packed in total and then each person took two to give out as they journeyed to their respective homes. Heather and Andrew also collected a further 16 which they took out on Christmas Eve.
As you can see, we were all suitably masked, gloved and distanced, with fresh air blowing through the rooms and corridor of our building. Andrew led us in a short act of worship.
Thank you to all those who contributed to the appeal this year. We will continue to distribute the bags throughout 2021.
Nurture & nourishment
On a very wet and windy Wednesday afternoon before Christmas, 6 socially-distanced bread-makers swapped their aprons for face-masks and met at Somewhere Else. Their task was to Bring Alive God in the streets and shop doorways of Liverpool.
Thanks to the generosity of so many people we were met by boxes of face-masks, wipes, gel, sweets, toothpaste, combs and all the other necessities that help those living on the streets of this great City have something that we take for granted. Packing these items into Spongebags was a joy for each of the participants: offering what we have to those who with nothing and showing God’s love to those struggling with addiction, homelessness and loneliness. As well as toiletries and sweets there was a Christmas card from the Somewhere Else Community, a book of Bible Stories (courtesy of the Bible Society) and a “battery” candle to show the Light of the World was with them, even in the darkness of their lives. All this in the hope that, with a simple act of kindness, the lost and the lonely can know that there is someone who loves and cares for them.
At Christmas we offer gifts to friends and family as a reminder of the greatest gift of all, that God sent his Son to be amongst us, the Word made flesh. But those who brought the gifts to the infant King that first Christmas were strangers, guided by stars and angels to that stable.
Some 30 years after that stable birth, Jesus told the people a story about a man who had been robbed on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho - one of the favourite Bible stories of the Somewhere Else Community. At the end of the parable Jesus asked an expert in the law “which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” And the expert in the law replied “the one who had mercy on him”. Jesus told him, “go and do likewise”. (Luke 1: 36-37)
So in the wet and gloom of a Tier 2 Christmas in Liverpool we went out and we did likewise - offering kindness, humanity and love to those we do not know. Truly, the greatest gift that we can offer.
On Saturday, 28th of November 2020, Zoom connected the community of SWE during a bread making session. From London, via Wolverhampton, West Lancashire, the Wirral and Liverpool using the technology of Zoom, we were able to meet to have conversation, share reflections and bake bread just as we would have if we had been at Bold Street.
For many of us, it was an opportunity to see each other, via those little boxes, after the suspension of baking at Bold Street due to the arrival of the Coronavirus in our country. Andrew led the group in reflections, we shared our thoughts and prayers, showed our finished products and then enjoyed the fruits of our labours for lunch - each in our separate homes.
It was a really uplifting experience. As the words of the hymn 'Bind us together' reflect, to paraphrase, we felt "bound together with words that cannot be broken and with love."
Our bakers made white loaves, rye bread, rolls for bacon butties, chocolate bread and delicious Hong Kong rolls. Can you spot which is which and even see a very tidy baker? We hope it inspires you to join us when we meet again in the near future. Lorraine
As part of the online facilitator training for Josie, our Vincentian Volunteer and Chris, our One Programme Participant, they took part in another Zoom baking session led by Heather and supported by Lorraine on Thursday, 29th of October, 2020.
In this photo, you can see Josie, with her housemate, Patricia rpoudly showing off the loaf and rolls that they had made prior to them going in the oven. Patricia is also a Vincentian Volunteer and has travelled from Nigeria to take part in the programme.
Josie is looking forward to meeting some of the community when we bake bread at our next Zoom session on Saturday, 28th of November. Email Lorraine at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be added to the Zoom email list. One of our former facilitators, Stephanie is going to be joining us from London!
What a great morning we had on Tuesday, the 22nd of September, when five of the community met to bake via the wonderful powers of the internet. Our senior steward, Andrew Lovelady; church secretary and facilitator trainer, Heather Lovelady, our administrator, Lorraine and former One Programme Participant, Laura, all introduced our new One Programme Participant for 2020-2021, Chris to a morning of baking.
We began the morning at 10 am, with the customary Bold Street welcome and chat and then Heather began to go through our SWE bread making recipe to introduce Chris to his first facilitator training session. ‘It was good to be reminded about how to help others learn to bake bread,’ commented Lorraine.
We all baked different types of loaves from a white, sharing loaf, to rye rolls and granary, rye and wholemeal ones. We were able to stop for chats and a brew whilst the loaves proved on our windowsills (rather than in the proving ovens in Bold Street) and really enjoyed the experience of community.
Whilst the loaves were baking, we held reflections. Andrew led the reflection by reading an article about a man in a sheltered housing block, who was feeling lonely. The man had put adverts in his local newspaper and handed out cards to see if someone would chat to him, to no avail. It was only when he put a large poster in his window and it was shared on social media that he began to get contacts from all around the world. As the new semi-lockdown restrictions began last night, we discussed how we could help our neighbours and the community.
Then, each person had some candles to light in their own homes, as they remembered someone or a situation in prayer. We brought all our prayers together by saying the Lord’s Prayer together – it was a joyous cacophony of prayer and praise to God.
Andrew posted the following on Facebook:-
What does the Bread Church mean to me? " Belonging."
From the first time I set foot in the Bread Church, I felt a sense of belonging. It certainly lived up to its name - "Somewhere Else". It's a place where people with different personalities, who come form various backgrounds and have different abilities and disabilities are all the same, all equally valued and loved in that special place.
Whether you are making bread; helping with washing up; making a drink just generally chatting; there is always someone you can share your joys, sorrow, concerns and opinions with.
If you fell the need to be on your own for a while or just in a quieter place; you can sit in the Cloud Room or the Quiet Room. No one questions or judges you.
Reflections time is special for me, when we hear a passage read from scripture or just a relfection reading and share with each other what meanings it has for us. There is then a time for lighting candles and offering up prayers for those people and situation on our hearts.
Lunch is another time for sharing both food and conversations. After soup is served and grace is said, there is a hush as we all tuck in to the excellent soup and freshly baked rolls. Conversation soon begins again with a quiet buzz, then full on chatter.
After lunch and helping with washing dishes and clearing up, the bread and rolls etc. are wrapped in paper to take home.
As a facilitator, I am meant to (amongst other definitions) assist, help alongside and encourage, but when I walk out into Bold Street; I feel so blessed.
I have been helped along.
I have been encouraged.
I have been loved.
I HAVE BEEN SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Sandra - facilitator
What does the Bread Church mean to me? In a word: healing.
Just over a year ago, I lost someone who I was very close to. At the time, I was in a job that was incredibly stressful, had long hours and offered me very little in return in terms of support and gratitude. This, unfortunately led to sturggles in both my physical and mental health. My self-esteem really took a hit. I didn't feel like myself and I struggled to see the fun, bubbly, outgoing young girl I used to be.
I had no idea what I needed at this point. All I knew was that I needed a massive change in my life. I turned to God and I prayed a lot. I prayed quite desperately. I prayed for strength and courage to jump into the unknown and have trust in Him. I also prayed for some sign of what I should do.
My prayers were answered when I came across this church that does things differently. I read their website and looked at the things they do and I just thought it was amazing. Days passed and I could not stop thinking about this church, above a bookshop, that makes bread. I acknowledged this sign that He had given me and I jumped head first into this new venture. I joined the team at SWE and very quickly I noticed that I was laughing. I was laughing all the time. I developed very strong, genuine relationships early on; some of our regulars started confiding in me about the tough week they'd had or excitedly sharing thier granchildren's milestones. I started to feel included, appreciated and worthy again.
Something that is so wonderful, and should be cherished about our community is that everyone who comes up the stairs is given the space and the permission to be exactly who they are; without caveats or conditions. That was, and to some extent still is, exactly what I needed. By having that safe space, I was able to start putting myself back together. I could figure out who I was and start builidng a world in which this person (who I so close to) was not in. It has not been easy, but through prayer and bu surrounding myself with these amazing, inspiring, loving people; I have started to heal.
I have since realised that I get a lot more out of my job at the Bread Church than I could ever give back. I am so grateful for the whole SWE community: for making me laugh constantly, for drying my tears and for letting me be myself.
Laura - One Programme Participant
What does SWE mean to me?
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind.
At Somewhere Else the people mean so much to me and so we welcome all to come and participate in the community and in the bread-making.
The atmosphere and the ethos of the place are so much a part of me after 21 years involvement.
Those who feel imprisoned are welcome. Many are imprisoned by illness, disability, the attitude towards them of society in general. Those on the margins who feel trapped by the very society that is supposed to be looking after them. Those with mental anguish, those who have been abused, ignored, hurt, damaged - all are welcome at the Bread Church.
We seek to hold the tension between showing the love of God to all who would come across the threshold and being a safer space.
Somewhere Else means the freedom to be real, the release from the imprisonment of "ordinary" church. The release from the fear that church is somewhere where "other people" go. At Somewhere Else, we don't sing hymns - unless people would like to, we don't have pews or hymn books and liturgy. Our worship is the making, kneading, shaping, baking and breaking of bread. I love the freedom of the worship space in the Cloud Room where we hold prayerful reflections during each bread-making session.
We seek to be a companion to those who visit. For "companion" means together with bread - 2 Latin words.
We offer a new way of looking at church - fresh, different, wonky around the edges (we have a poster up on the wall from Lurpak - wonky is good - but it is next to a poster from John's gospel - I am the bread of life.)
So no matter whether your life is easy or difficult; no matter whether you feel trapped and imprisoned or free; no matter whether you feel that you have lost sight of your faith; no matter whether there seems to be no "good news" around you or your community ...... at the Bread church I know that....
The yeast will enliven you.
The flour will be the basis of a loaf to nourish your needs.
The oil will be poured on your troubled waters.
The honey will sweeten your outlook.
The water will immerse you in God's love.
The salt will spice up your worship habits.
For though we are all unique in God's eyes, we all share in the one loaf that is Jesus Christ, whom I see every week in the people that make, bake and break bread in Liverpool City Centre.
That is why I love Somewhere Else.
That is why I use my LOAF and L.O.A.F. - live out a faith with good news, free and in the full sight of God.
Andrew - Circuit Steward and Treasurer
Here is a photo of Andrew receiving his official facilitator's certificate in November. Andrew is The Bread Church's Senior Steward and also Treasurer. He has been part of the community since it began 20 years ago. However, due to his work commitments it has taken him some time to complete all the elements required of the official training. The Trustees enjoyed witnessing him receiving his certificate.
On Tuesday, the 5th of March, we had two visitors to The Bread Church. Pete, from Derby and Bernhard from Germany. Both had come to see how we "do church differently" here at SWE. Peter, one of our regular volunteers, was kept busy helping them to bake bread.
At coffee/tea break, the community enjoyed eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Pete and Peter look to be enjoying theirs.
Bernhard is hoping to visit again next week, so we look forward to welcoming him back and hopefully recording a photograph for our website. Check this page next week!
The community decided that they would like to reduce the number of plastic bags that they were using each week. So a large batch of "chippy" paper was ordered; to wrap the bread in. This can then be placed in a backpack or visitor's bag.
Our guests have reported that the bread stays fresher for longer too.
Here Carolyn, one of our facilitators, is seen wrapping a loaf for Kit.
Deep Cleaning Days 2018
Members of the community spent two days cleaning the rooms at Somewhere Else - and the equipment -from top to bottom! It was hard work, but they were rewarded with Rev. Ian's tasty chilli con carne and vegetarian chilli as a thank you for all their effort.
The community is looking forward to welcoming both new and old visitors to bread making and reflections in the coming months.
In 2017, as part of Methodist Insurance Community Awards competition, Methodist Churches across the country were asked to let them know how their church was reaching out to others and making a difference to people's lives. The Bread Church was highlighted in the 2018 August newsletter. Look for the "Our daily bread" link on the Community Stars page. https://www.methodistinsurance.co.uk/news/community-stars
Josephine Butler Memorial Day was recently held in the Church of England Lectionary. Following a Eucharist Service in the Lady Chapel at Liverpool Cathedral, an awards luncheon was held in the Gilbert Giles Scott Suite.
The Bread Church was one of several community organisations to be recognised by the Josephine Butler Memorial Trust for its work in Liverpool.
"Josephine Butler has been described by contemporaries and biographers as beautiful and charismatic. (She) is remembered for her compassion for prostitutes and her tireless championing of poor women and children."
Claire Jones, HerStoria, 2012
Monika Resleróva (Vincentian Volunteer during 2016-17) spent the day with us visiting from Prague, Czech Republic. The Tuesday group enjoyed re-connecting with her during breadmaking, worship, reflections and lunch. Monika now teaches primary school children in Prague.
Carolyn (Thursday session facilitator) was able to stop by to join us for lunch during Monika’s visit.
Monika also met Joseph Rikardsen, our current Vincentian Volunteer (2017-18)