Jenny Skinnard reports on her visit to the Isles of Scilly, 28 June – 3 July 2018
I was fortunate enough to travel to St Mary’s [main picture] recently, in my role as President of MWiB, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly District, accompanied by Mrs Jenny Collins, District World Church Officer for the Cornwall Methodist District. It is expensive to travel to and from the Isles of Scilly, and my thanks are due to the National office of MWiB who generously sponsored me for this visit. The Minister on the Isles of Scilly, Revd Jane Willcock and her husband John very kindly hosted us in the Manse.
The purpose of our visit was to support and encourage Revd Jane, to meet groups connected to the Chapel and to assist in the Sunday Services, at St Mary’s Chapel in the morning and St Martin’s Chapel in the evening.
The main source of income is tourism and as a result many Islanders are busy with visitors, especially during the summer season. The Revd Jane and John were ideal hosts because they could inform us about Island life, show us some of the beauty spots, and introduce us to the Knitters and Natterers who meet each Friday in the Community Room within the Manse. It was good to chat with them and admire their handiwork, most of which was scarves for the Shoe Boxes or items for sale to raise funds for the RNLI.
Jenny and I also gave presentations to folk, some of whom we had met earlier at the Knitters and Natterers. I gave a presentation on my recent Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the Chaplain to the Islands, Canon Perran Gay, joined us for the afternoon. The Revd Jane and Canon Perran Gay work closely together, covering services in both the Methodist Chapels and Parish Churches.
At the Sunday gatherings Revd Jane invited Jenny and me to read the Gospel for the day and for each of us to share something about the Methodist organisation we represented. I was able to remind the congregations about the aim of MWiB to encourage, enable and equip those less fortunate than ourselves, and to highlight the Meet, Listen, Eat, Go! project. I also invited the Islanders to join in the Cornwall District Days and the St Ives Annual Conference. I acknowledged that I had witnessed encouragement and enabling as well as equipping when meeting groups and having personal conversations. It was heart-warming to see a bunch of flowers gifted to a friend, a fresh cucumber pressed into a friend’s hand, to hear a word of cheer for a struggling neighbour.
The Isles of Scilly are very special places, each Island having a character of its own. The Islanders have to be self-sufficient, flexible and ‘have a Plan B’ because there is always the weather or the seas to take into consideration. It may be that the boats that connect the Islands are unable to operate, or that flights are cancelled because of fog, or the ferry and freight ship cannot dock. We had no such problems to impede our journeys, the weather was exceptional, we were given generous and kind hospitality, and I felt truly blest by my visit.
I hope I was able to assure the chapel folk that they are not forgotten!
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly District