An initiative to provide mobile pastoral support to those in need around the island has moved a step nearer.
The Isle of Man Methodist Church has brought across a van which has been specially adapted and modified to provide hospitality and prayer space at various events throughout the year.
Called the “Bus-Ny-Bannaghtyn”, or “Bus of Blessings”, it will visit some of the more rural and isolated communities in the Island and offer free hot drinks, a space to chat and a space to pray.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company assisted the Church team with travel after a suitable vehicle had been located.
Reverend Steve Ingrouille, the Methodist Minister coordinating the idea, explained: ‘Methodist Chapels used to be the centre of their communities, providing for and serving the people around them. We recognise that communities across the island have changed greatly since many of our chapels were built. Some are now geographically distant from communities as demographics have changed and new developments have been built away from what were the traditional residential areas.
‘Equally, some of our smaller chapels have limited facilities which makes it difficult to organise get-togethers such as coffee mornings and other events that help us engage with the community.’
He continued: ‘The idea with the van is twofold. We have hot water and heating built into the vehicle so it can be used as a “welfare van”, enabling us to easily offer hospitality both alongside our rural chapels and also in new housing developments which don’t have a ‘faith space’ as such. This way we can reach out to people, listen to them, hear their needs and connect with them in a new way.
‘Secondly, the van will provide a mobile ‘base’ that we can book space for at community events such as the Royal Manx Agricultural Show, the Southern Agricultural Show, Peel Harbour Festival etc. Simply being there, meeting people, talking about what the different churches on the island can offer them, providing a listening ear and prayerful support is something we are keen to promote.
‘I would like to say a huge thank you to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for supporting us and bringing the vehicle to the island.’
The van, which has now been fully kitted-out and also incorporates a prayer chapel, was launched on a prayer pilgrimage around the island.
Chief Executive of Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Mark Woodward, said: ‘When approached, we more than happy to bring the van across from Heysham and look forward to seeing what work they have carried out inside. We wish the team behind this community initiative the best of luck.’