Ipswich: Bishop makes Palm Sunday visit to Portman Road car boot sale with church outreach team

The Right Reverand Dr David Thomson FSA , The Acting Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich visited Po

The Right Reverand Dr David Thomson FSA , The Acting Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich visited Portman Road boot sale to see a bit of the work that the volunteers have been doing. L-R Bishop David, Hannah Deaves,Rev Nick Atkins. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Christians in Ipswich are reaching out to people by attending Sunday morning car boot sales – joining the bargain hunters with their own charity stall.

Acting Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Dr David Thomson visited the event at Portman Road yesterday to see how the project – run by worshippers from St Matthew’s Church – was working.

He said it had made his Palm Sunday morning very different.

Bishop David said: “It’s all about doing what Jesus did and taking his good news to where folk are.

“I asked the people I met at the car boot whether there was anything they’d like me to pray for, and then took those thoughts with me as I went on to the church service at St Matthew’s.”

Rev Nick Atkins, of St Matthews, said he had wanted to have a presence at the car boot sale ever since he arrived at the church eight years ago.

He said: “The Portman Road car boot is a busy place every Sunday morning and we’ve been conscious that lots of people walk past St Matthew’s each week going there.

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“We wanted to be a Christian presence there, not being overtly evangelistic, but providing a prayer box for any needs people have and available to chat to folk. We also have Bible verse literature available in other languages and leaflets too.”

He said selling items was secondary to the team but was important because people like to rummage and it enabled church members to talk to people about any prayer needs.

Mr Atkins said: “Everything that we sell we advertise as being in aid of a school in our link diocese of Kagera. With St Matthew’s School next to the church there is also a good link with children who go there and who also frequent the boot sale with their carers.

“We began in January doing it fortnightly, getting there at 8am until about noon. There are people praying in the church vestry as the service and boot sale continue.

“We are shortly going to assess how things have gone and whether we continue after Easter.”