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Rea Valley Methodist Churches
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Rea Valley Methodist Churches
World News

Methodist Shropshire group of churches convert chapel into home for Ukrainian refugee family

by Kelly Valencia

A group of churches in Shropshire have come together to convert one of their buildings into a home for Ukrainian refugees.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the congregations of Rea Valley Methodist Churches decided to gather in prayer to find a "practical way" of helping those affected by the conflict. 

Speaking to Premier, Rev Richard Hall, who oversees the group of churches, said converting Stiperstones' Methodist chapel seemed the right way to help. 

"I wasn't wildly enthusiastic about it," Rev Richard Hall said. "But by the time a third person had mentioned it, I began to feel like there was something here that we ought to be. 

"So, almost immediately, people began thinking about what might happen, how it might be done, they gathered a little team together to consider the changes that might be needed to the building. 
Roof plans were drawn up, there was huge enthusiasm to make it happen." 

The chapel used to be a retreat centre for visitors and held occasional services and meetings. 

Rev Hall said the enthusiasm around the community has been "enormous" with people volunteering to help with carpentry, electricity and money. 

 "A local pub has volunteered, the local councillor is waving the flag for us.

"One person came forward and said: 'Look, I can't afford to give you this money, but I can lend you £1,000 pounds interest free, take as long as you like to pay it back, just if you need to go and buy some materials, you know, you've got something in hand', shortly afterwards another persona gave us a £500 pound gift. It's just really exciting," he continued. 

Once the conversion is finished, it will have to receive the approval of the government's scheme to house a family. 

When asked if he would encourage other churches to follow their example, Rev Hall said he recognised not everyone had the possibility of helping that way, but he urged churches to be leading the way in helping refugees.
"What I would encourage every church to do, is to think about and pray about what their response to the Ukrainian crisis is and indeed to all those refugees from around the world who are in need and prayerfully make that a priority."

Rea Valley Methodist Churches hopes the house will be liveable within a matter of weeks. 

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