The East Leeds Repair café has now been going since September 2022 and we have have had four sessions at CrossGates Methodist Church. We currently have about 20 volunteers from across the circuit and local community with a wide range of skills and interests. Each session has had between 20 and 40 objects of all types come through for repair, and quite a few people will drop in simply to have a chat and a cup of tea or coffee.
Not all of the volunteers come from a faith background but all are interested in helping to care for creation by keeping household items out of the city dump as well as in offering their skills to serve people in the local community.
Many of the conversations I have had with people have included questions about "why the church is doing this?" Or comments that it is brilliant to see the church taking action to tackle throwaway culture and to help people who cannot afford to simply replace broken or damaged items.
some of the most common repairs so far have been fairly simple things like broken toasters and clothing in need of repair or alteration. All of the items that are repaired go back out carrying signs of their past damage and repair but are able to fulfil the purpose for which they were created.
The same is true of all of the people those who come to know Jesus. We come to the church broken and are made whole in Christ, but nonetheless carry the scars and experiences of our lives forward as we too go into the world to fulfil the purpose for which we were created. In some ways it is the signs of damage and repair that show how much we are worth to God, so valuable that we are worth the cost to repair. While I doubt many of the toasters we have fixed quite fall into that category they are of value to the people bringing them not least because if they have to be replaced it may impact on the ability to buy food and other essentials.
If you would like to be involved with the repair café get in touch with Paul on Repaircafe(at)Leedsnandemethodist.org.uk
you can also drop in to the next café. Sessions take place on the 3rd Saturday of every month between 11am and 3pm