Terminus Initiative Peacemeal, Sheffield

About the Terminus Initiative

Our Peacemeal has been going since March 2015 on a council estate on the southern edge of Sheffield, South Yorkshire; minutes away from Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park.

It is part of the Terminus Initiative project, a charitable company which was started in 2002 by four local churches serving in this area. It aims to develop activities that will help to address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the community; working in partnership with local residents, voluntary and community agencies and statutory service providers.

Sheffield Terminus Cafe

One of the successes of the Terminus project has been its café and shop, which opens 3 days a week and offers low priced, healthy food and second hand quality goods.

It’s run by 7 teams of volunteers and when these people are not volunteering they are often among the customers.

Inevitably, a community of people has grown around the Terminus café and shop which is diverse in its make up. There are people with degrees ‘working’ alongside those with learning disabilities. There are  ‘Sheffielders born and bred’ and those who have come from far away to seek sanctuary in the city. There are those who have grown up with a faith centred on Christ, and others for whom God is still a question mark.

Company, food and Jesus stories

Our Peacemeal was set up to offer ‘company, food and Jesus stories’ on a Saturday evening from 6pm to 8pm, once a month in the lounge of the Terminus Initiative offices. It was open to volunteers and customers who come into the café-shop where it is advertised.

The format is the same each time: an hour to sit, eat and chat with each other, followed by an hour where we listen to a story being slowly read aloud twice.  Reading aloud means that we do not all have to be able to read. The story is always about Jesus or one that Jesus told. Then, after some silent personal reflection, we talk about it together.

“Equality of power is an important ethos to us.”

Each of us has the opportunity to prepare the food and choose the story and we all contribute what we can financially towards the cost of the food. There is always a leader who organises and facilitates the evening: enabling everyone to have an opportunity to participate, encouraging the reticent and curbing the dominant. Equality of power is an important ethos to us.

Something else important to us is that we engage with the Jesus stories imaginatively using an Ignatian model. This means that we place ourselves in the story and become aware of how we feel and what we think about the events, the people involved, what is said etc.

This helps us move beyond an intellectual approach and allows us to focus on connecting our own lives with these ancient stories, and creating space for sharing our stories with one another. Focussing the talk time on our different reactions means that we learn a range of ‘truths’ and perspectives from one another, and allow each person to have their own journey with Jesus.

Thanks to Aglaia Barraclough for this story. If you would like to find out more about the Sheffield Peacemeal or the Terminus Initiative, you can email Aglaia.


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