Oasis

An Oasis in the Black Country
“Oasis” started at Bilsion Methodist Church in June 1994 during the ministry of the late Rev F. Roy  Wilkins as a weekly “pop in” centre on Mondays. With a grant we were able to provide disabled access and toilets, easy chairs and games equipment.
In the early days it was just a place to sit and chat over a hot or cold drink. Gradually we included the sale of bric-a-brac as we were fund raising to improve the general toilets. Then, nearly-new second hand clothing became an attraction providing good quality clothes at reasonable prices for anyone who likes a bargain.
People came with all sorts of problems and we listened and talked with them. After four years by constant demand we agreed to open on Fridays as well and this has proved equally popular.
Although, we have never actually preached Christianity; folk began to ask questions and we attempted to answer them, A T.A.J. group was formed to Talk-About-Jesus with simple Bible study and occasional spontaneous “Praise sessions” with old favourite hymns. Out of this has come a weekly Bible study on Wednesday morning and a short period of Worship on Fridays at 11 -30 a.m. We now have communion occasionally in the worship time.
These average 20+ – both church members and Oasis folk who enjoy a good Methodist hymn sing.
Occasionally Oasis members attended worship on Sundays and some joined house groups, over the years six people have become full members of our Church.
Children have always been involved, babies and toddlers came with their mums or carers, we were given toys and bought a slide and a rocker! School children arrived in the holidays and on frequent “teacher training days” (which always occur on Mondays or Fridays).
To comply with the Children’s Act it was necessary to get parental consent and because of the lack of adult helpers we had to limit the unaccompanied children to over elevens. We hope to develop our work with children in the near future.
We often have visitors (including some from overseas) hoping to learn something relevant to their family history. Some have even discovered distant cousins or former school friends.
The original four Oasis staff (which included Margaret Wilkins (Roy’s wife)) has grown to twelve, including three valued members from Stowlawn and Bradley churches. We do not know what the future of “Oasis” will be. From the onset we never knew in which direction God would lead us. It certainly has been beyond our expectations but we know it is a vital part of our church’s outreach.
If you are ever in Bilston then pop in on Monday’s or Fridays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and sample our hospitality, we would love to meet you.
We have from May 2011 started serving food in Oasis with Bacon sandwiches, jacket potatoes and a variety of sandwiches toasted or not as the case may be.

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