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Broad Street Methodist church, SpaldingNew minister Rev Margaret Mwailu

Broad Street Methodist church, Spalding New minister Rev Margaret Mwailu

 

She was just a girl, living in a rural area of Kenya, when the snake caught her unawares as she read a book on the farm where her family enjoyed a comfortable life.

She was just a girl, living in a rural area of Kenya, when a snake caught her unawares as she read a book on the farm where her family enjoyed a comfortable life.

Margaret had already decided that, out of the money her father gave her each time he returned from working away as a magistrate, she would donate a Kenyan shilling to her local missionary church.

However, during the two weeks she spent in hospital recovering from the snake bite, Margaret realised that she wanted to work in the church, in whatever capacity.

Margaret knew it would not be as a minister or vicar because at that time her church didn’t recognise the ordination of women.

What she could not foresee was that her future would be in the Methodist church, which has always been far more enlightened when it comes to women and the ministry, and in Britain.

Following school, Margaret spent four years at theological college and then taught in a bible institute in Mombasa, 50 miles from her home. She trained with Daniel, whom she later married, and while he was able to go straight into ministry, Margaret says: “There was not much I could do. You just had to accept what the church gave you to do and a lot of women were working with children and women’s meetings, but things have changed now in Kenya.”

When Daniel came to Britain to study 31 years ago, Margaret accompanied him, studying for a Diploma in Education, until her first son, Kyalo, was born – he is now 30 and living and working in Derby.

When Kyalo was older Margaret went to Birmingham University to do a degree in Theology before going to Manchester to do a post-graduate Diploma in Biblical Studies.

Everything then stopped while Margaret gave birth to their second son, Andrew, who is now 19 and studying at Bristol.

In 2001, Margaret began local preaching and getting more involved in the church, before returning to university at Manchester to do her Masters in Contextual Theology.

At the same time she was training for Methodist ministry and in 2006 she took up her first position in the Manchester circuit.It sounds like a lot of time spent studying, but Margaret explains this.

“Being a woman, being a black woman, I needed to have extra back up. Becoming a minister felt great.

“It was the fulfilment of something I had waited a long, long time for.

“When you finish school you think, ‘I’ll be a nurse or a teacher’, but I just wanted to be involved in ministry.”

She has hopes for her ministry in Spalding – at Broad Street and St Thomas’s Road churches – and Bicker, and they are to do with young people becoming more involved in the church and helping them feel that they are part of the church family.

In her short time in south Lincolnshire Margaret says she has seen a close unity among the church fellowship, and would like to develop that even further. Margaret would also like to see a stronger link between the church and the community.

Margaret says she and Daniel, who is Methodist minister at Bourne and Thurlby, have been made to feel very welcome in this area. While the family home is at Bourne, Margaret also has a base in Spalding.

She adds: “What I have come to do is not to start new things but to work together in what they have been doing and together explore ways of fulfilling the mission of Christ in the Spalding area.”

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