Our trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

Our trip to Haiti and the Dominican Republic is now done and dusted and I have been struggling with a desk full of paper for the last two days. The administrative role is the one that takes up most of my time, I sit here for hours with my computer screen, my dictating machine, the phones and faxes, the discussions and the decisions, all ganging up on me. Such is life.

I've been making a big effort to get back into the swing of things as far as the refurbishment of our museum is concerned. So much happened while we we're away and dear Robin Kent and Christian Detlaff, with all their helpers, we're left with executive responsibility for the opening blasts of our project. The crypt of the Chapel has been restored to it's original dimensions walls have been ripped out, museum stores and exhibits removed, the shop relocated on the ground floor of John Wesley's house and so on. Now the builders are in and preparing the ground for the massive and radical changes that will give us a swish, state-of-the-art facility that will bring visitors flocking in.

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There's just one, intriguing thing that I've noticed. When the Chapel was rescued in the 1970's, it took a massive fund-raising challenge to accomplish. And the money was raised in large measure from the United States of America. The minister at that time made a number of trips across the Atlantic and secured the support of several Annual Conferences. Without America, the Chapel wouldn't be standing today.

This time round we are witnessing something totally different. When we we're contemplating this refurbishment, I wrote to 29 bishops of the United Methodist Church of the USA inviting them to support our cause. 28 of them didn't even send a reply.The 29th said he had other priorities. Perhaps I shouldn't have written to the bishops at all, especially during a recession!

So the project went on hold for a couple of years. Then, a year last October, we received a gift of $1m from the Kwanglim Methodist Church in Seoul, South Korea. And that has allowed us to kick-start the project into life. The plans we've drawn up will cost us 1.5m ($2m) to implement and I'm happy to say that we've raised 350,000 beyond the initial gift from Korea. The first phase of our work will be completed ready for re-opening on May 24th this year. We already have the money in hand to pay all the bills for that. The second phase (the exhibition itself) will be completed as funds allow. But it's all go.

Bishop Sundo Kim of the Kwanglim Church has become such a good friend. And our relationship with the church has developed along other fronts. We receive visits from members of Kwanglim from time to time. Our young adult group is planning a visit in the summer. We have a year-long internship program which brings a member of the Kwanglim staff over for a year at a time. And so much more.

I just thought I'd share the interesting observation of how interest in (and support for) the Chapel seems to have moved from the West to the East. We can only wonder and give thanks.

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Posted in Entertainment Post Date 12/05/2015






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