Spreading The Word
By Margaret Maxwell
About fifteen years ago our local preacher, Ron Lucas, began to submit to the Market Drayton Advertiser summaries of the services held at Ashley Methodist Church on Wesleyan Road. At first he used to take his typed report into the Advertiser office on Shrewsbury Road where he got to know reporter Helen Berwick. He was always warmly welcomed and in time, trust and understanding were established between our church and the Advertiser staff. Nowadays we use email to submit our summaries. About three years ago we were given a regular slot in the paper with a column entitled Crosstalk. With very few gaps Ron and his occasional assistants, Margaret and Keith, continue to fill this column every week.
Occasionally Ron would include photographs of special events such as Junior Church Anniversary or our nativity services, as space permitted. Not only was it good for the participants to have their efforts recognised but Ron also built up a steady readership among those interested in our church but not able to attend our services.
As our church is situated on the fringe of the village Ron’s reports were a way of publicising our existence to newcomers to the district as well as a reminder to Ashley and Loggerheads folk in general. When we transferred from the Newcastle to the Market Drayton Methodist Circuit this publicity became even more relevant. Ron says: “From the start I wished to use the print media as a form of letting the community know what AMC is doing, week by week, and as a means of evangelisation and mission. The location of the chapel is remote from both Ashley and Loggerheads villages.” Another indication of our presence is our illuminated cross which Ron describes as “a means of grace and comfort in the dark days of winter.” It can be clearly seen by travellers up the A53.
Since our churches have been closed for the greater part of the last twelve months we have been covering the circuit’s online services in our reports as well as the occasional in-house services that we have been able to hold. These services, accessed via YouTube or our church websites (www.mdmc.org.uk and www.ashleymethodist.co.uk), have been viewed all over the world and have provided resources for many other broadcast church services.
In February, as part of his campaign to promote the Drayton Advertiser, the editor asked us for our views on local newspapers. As a result, a photo of Ron with a précis of our comments graced the front page of the newspaper, a fitting tribute to many years of faithful reporting. Congratulations, Ron. We hope you will go on covering our worship for many more years. Please accept our grateful thanks for widening the scope of our mission to bring the message of the Gospel to our local community.