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.
A first for SWE 13th December, 2020
Yesterday afternoon, members and friends of the SWE community met for the first Zoom Carol Service. As Andrew so rightly expressed in an email, it was "Fantastic!!!! No other words to describe it." All who attended would no doubt agree.
We have Robert to thank for planning a wonderul, moving and reflective service, which included 'Prepare ye the way' from the musical Godspell, carols that we know with one sung in Hebrew and English, readings from the Bible - parts played by members of the community and Intercessionary prayers written by Josie and Chris, our Vincentian Volunteer and One Programme Participant respectively.
We were all particularly moved by a reflection from Father Casey Cole 'Why did Jesus come?' You can use this link to listen to his words -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QscL5AIGBPs
As Andrew and Heather often say. Christmas starts with a SWE carol.
We hope that all have a peaceful and blessed Christmas.
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
The community of Somewhere Else is took part in the Christmas Tree Festival which was held in the grounds of St Bride's Church, Percy Street, Liverpool.
We made decorations for the tree, using the theme of Christmas Bread, as well as using decorations highlighting our winter work of taking toiletry bags out to the homeless of the city.
We hope that you were able to walk past St Bride's to see the trees, which were also decorated by local school children.
Here is the Somewhere Else Christmas tree at the festival. It was decorated with a garland of SWE business cards, rather than tinsel as well as a few items which are usually put into our Christmas Appeal bags: toothbrush and toothpaste, face flannel and a packet of tissues, and the Gift of Christmas booklet with a packet of polo mints.
Members of the SWE community had also sent information about festive breads from around the world. Monika, a former Vincentian Volunteer, had written about Vanocka a Czech Christmas Honey bread. Lesogo Connie Magole about Diphaphatha, a flat bread eaten on Christmas Day for breakfast in Botswana. Denise also told us about Jamaican hard dough bread, which is eaten with salt fish and ackee on Christmas Day.
If you get chance to see the tree, you will also find out about Stollen - Germany, Lusekatter - Norway , Gallete des Rois from France - both North and Southern France versions, Panettone - Italy, Pomp a l'huile - Provence, Roscon de Reyes - Spain, Koldna Pitka - Bugaria amd Krendl from Russia. If you can't travel to Liverpool, then read about the different breads here.
If you turn to our bread recipe page, you will find some of the recipes, so that you can make your own festive bread.
On Friday, 30th October CASAI (Church Action on Sexual Abuse Issues) invited as many people as possible to wear odd socks. This is a symbol to help us to remember and raise awareness of those who feel odd and awkward because of being subjected ot sexual abuse.
The week leading up to Hallowe'en is difficult for may people, but particularly for survivors of abuse. Some churches still stuggle to believe that satanic and ritual abuse happens and so it's almost impossible for the survivors of this particular abuse to ask for help. Many are too traumatised, too ill, or too scared to talk.
Friends of SWE joined in with the day by wearing odd socks, odd earrings and even odd shoes! We were encouraged to wear these all day. Our prayers during the week were for survivors of abuse and the work of CASAI within the Liverpool Methodsit District and beyond.
The following is a collage of the photos that people took on the day. Thanks to Chris, our OPP, for co-ordinating the images.
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:-
21st August was a big day in Andrew Lovelady’s life.
It was his son’s birthday (but at 36 Stephen was busy working and did not want his dad to bring round jelly, ice cream & a cake!) and it was also the day that Andrew had decided to “boycott his bed” in aid of Action for Children.
AfC is a very Methodist” charity having been founded in 1869 by Rev Dr Thomas Bowman Stephenson to offer shelter for children living rough in the streets of East London. Today it still seeks to offer protection, counselling, safe space and an open mind to the children and young people of the UK.
Andrew has been a supporter for 60 years and, to celebrate that, he wanted to do something special. Having seen AfC’s “Boycott your Bed” appeal he decided that this was something he could do. After all at the young age of 65 why would you want a nice soft bed, pillows and a duvet, when you could sleep on the hard floor of your kitchen!?
Sending the word out to all his contacts he launched his appeal and was amazed at how many people wanted to see him sleeping rough. But boycott your bed is all about raising awareness of young people who may well have a roof over their head but are often sleeping in overcrowded rooms with no real comfort and the knowledge that they may not be in the same room or even house the next night. That all depends on where they can find shelter.
Children like Joshua, who, at 13, was left with nothing when his family home caught fire, destroying their house and all their belongings. Unable to go back into their home, they spent nearly three months moving between temporary accommodations. However, with the support of Action for Children, Joshua was able to go straight back to school, and has been receiving ongoing support for dealing with the trauma almost a year since the fire. His brother and sisters have been able to attend group sessions at their local children’s centre and are beginning to get their childhoods back.
“Without Action for Children, I don’t know what we would have done. They made us feel that even though we had lost everything we still had so much”.
Thanks to the generosity of many friends Andrew has raised over £3,100 to date for this amazing cause – and he doesn’t even have a bad back to show for it. If they do the same thing next year; his 4 year old grandson Jasper wants to sleep out with Grandpa as well!!!
These are some of the places Andrew thought of sleeping:
First, he thought of sleeping in the skip with the old conifers.
Then, in the back of his car.
Eventually, he decided to settle down in the kitchen amongst all the boxes.
On the 21st April, a former regular attendee at the Bread Church - Violet - sent a message to the community, via facebook, from her new home in Germany. Violet moved there in March. It was great to hear that she is well and still baking - though yeast was just as rare back in April there as it was here.
This is what she said:
"This is a wonderful place to come and spend a few hours. It is not just for folk who have religion (I don't), it's for anyone to enjoy. The people who come here are really lovely and kind folk who are interesting to talk to. The whole idea is amazing and it is a shame there are not more places like this for people to go.
I went regularly, twice a week, with a girl I supported who enjoyed baking, we made heaps of lovely things together and always felt welcome and relaxed. I miss coming along to the baking and only stopped as I moved to Germany.
Thanks so much everyone, I will miss you.x"
Do 'like' our facebook page and check it regularly, as we are keeping connected through this and our website.
Our MHA heroes
On June 3rd, 2020 the Chief Executive of MHA and staff in 2 of their care homes were on Newsnight on BBC 2. They had been filmed as part of an investigation by the Newsnight team for a piece about the Coronavirus Pandemic and its effect on carehomes and their staff.
It is a powerful programme about the dedication of the staff and how they were let down by lack of resources provided by the government. Do take time to watch this moving film.
As of Monday, 6th of July, Big Issue sellers will be back selling the magazine on the streets. All will have received a welcome back kit from the charity and may will now have contactless payment machines.
Read more on their website about how they are ensuring that the Big Issue sellers are being helped.
You can continue to buy the Big Issue from Sainbury's and McColl's stores even though the sellers are back working, but the charity will try to ensure that they are only sold in businesses that do not have a Big Issue seller working nearby.
However, if you would like to make a commitment, go to their website where you will be able to donate one off payments, or become a regular donor, so that the work that they do can continue.
The Big Issue continues to be an excellent and informative read, especially about how the newspaper is helping to support the vulnerable in our society.
Do you recognise the face on the front cover? Victor can often be seen selling the Big Issue on Bold Street outside the entrance to Somewhere Else. Please hold the Big Issue sellers in your prayers.
You can now buy copies from even more places: Sainsbury's, McColl's, Co-Op, Asda, One Stop, Morrisons and Waitrose outlets. Do help, if you can.
Here at Somewhere Else, you can usually find copies of this magazine in the main room, as well as in our Reflection room. If you follow the link, then you will be able to read the latest edition whilst we are closed.
The Making of Us
Introducing a film created by many, purely to spread a message of positivity and hope.
Proof that even apart, we're in this together.
This could be the making of us.
"Interruption is God's invitation. God is inviting us to see him all around us, in the lives of others, in our conversations, in our serving those in need. It is one of God's ways of waking us up to what's around us."
Follow the link to Word on the Street's website to read more about how God is inviting each on of us to think again.
Hannah Brown, Campaigns and Church Engagement Officer, has written a blog about the rainbows that have been appearing in the windows of homes and churches during this time.
She writes about how people are looking for "hope on the horizon" and of the promise for Christians that, "There is a God who offers light in the darkness."
You can read the article by following this link:
Trey Hall, Director of Evangelism and Growth for the Methodist Church, first posted this article on facebook. It has been slightly adapted for the Methodist website.
In the article, Trey gives you practical help on how to cope with anxiety during these unusual times. It is based on meditation. Do give the article a read.
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.
What a creative evening. We enjoyed our supper of beans or spaghetti hoops on toast too. Thanks to Robert who came to help to do the washing up as well. A thoroughly enjoyable evening and reflection time.
Every year, we are blessed by students from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) on placement at The Bread Church as one of the first year placement community requirements for LIPA's Community Drama programme. This year we have had Rebecca join us on Tuesdays. She quickly became confident as a baker. Here you can see a caterpillar loaf that she made!
We are soon to be joined by two other of her fellow students.
Over the last few weeks, members of our community have been preparing and making the soup for our lunch.
Milly and Dominique are seen here preparing the courgettes for our delicious soup. Not only does Milly chop the vegetables, but she is also a dab-hand at blending the soup to
" a silky smoothness."
Vinny is becoming an expert at preparing the peppers without the use of a knife! If you don't want your knives to become blunt when preparing a pepper, then follow this technique.
1. Wash the pepper.
2. Use your thumb to push the stalk into the pepper.
3. Remove the stalk from the pepper and throw away.
4. Tear the pepper into small pieces using your fingers.
5. Wash the pepper pieces again, to remove the seeds.
Now you can add your pepper to your cooking.
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.
Our film season has finished for a while now. Check this space regularly to find out our next movie and discussion session.
Films usually take place on a Sunday afternoon in the main room. During January and February 2019, we watched The Pianist and Romero. We look forward to discussing The Way, starring Martin Sheen in the future.
Film: 3 - 5pm
Conversation: 5 - 6pm
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)
Full details on Our Facilitators page
For years "The Middle Room" between the Breadmaking Room and Cloud Room has been used to store art and craft materials, broken furniture and any unwanted items. It's still a drying room for our aprons and tea towels, but Rev Sally Binymin and our Administrator, Lorraine Howarth transformed the main part of the room into this beautiful centrepiece. It's become a more peaceful and reflective space. Thank you for your hard work, it looks so much better and the room feels better too.
Somewhere Else has rooms available to hire. If you know of a group that is looking for meeting space in Liverpool City Centre then please contact Lorraine on 0151 706 0155 for further details. Users must be in sympathy with the ethos of Somewhere Else and the Church Trustees reserve the right to refuse a room booking request.