Back in 2020, we spoke to Gerry Dillon, who had just taken on the tremendous task of leading the newly launched Centre of Mission in Central Fife in partnership with the Diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, in Scotland. What made this an even more impossible task was that he was doing it during the first of the coronavirus lockdowns.
Rather than wait it out, and seeing the great need of the residents in Central Fife, Gerry used the internet, and any other means he could, to connect with people in the area. Three years on, the Central Fife Centre of Mission is going strong and helping more and more people in practical ways while taking every opportunity to share the gospel of hope in Jesus Christ. We caught up with Gerry to find out what the Centre is up to in 2023.
Central Fife Centre of Mission
We are very much being led by the community right now – listening to them and what they need. The original plan was to open up a café, but the more I listened to people, the more I realised they didn’t need a café – what they really needed was food. People are starving here in Central Fife, so that has become the focus. We have food on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and we also have a pantry, which has got a four-month waiting list. The need is so dire that we have such a long waiting list. We created the pantry and kitchen project. Anyone who is hungry can come into the pantry and all the food is free. They can give a donation of what they can, when they can. We also prepare fresh food every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so people can enjoy a hot meal. Wednesday is more of a sit-down community meal. Lots of different people come in, but there is a core of about 30 regulars.
One of the big things that has happened, which took me by surprise, is that some are coming along to church services on Sundays. They are happy to have conversations
about faith while eating mid-week, too. I have become their community priest; people
speak to me the way they speak to each other, which is great. It’s a wonderful place to be, and it’s all about the people. Morrisons gave us their foodbank donations, but that was only for one year. That’s coming to an end soon, so we are approaching different people/businesses for donations so that we don’t run out. One of the regulars who comes is an amputee. He arrived at my door one day in tears. He told me how he had become more and more isolated throughout the pandemic and was really struggling. He asked if he could talk to me. I said, “Yes, of course, but as well as doing that, why don’t you come tonight (it was a Thursday) and have something to eat?” His eyes lit up, and he said, “Can I?!” I said, “Of course!” But then he was worried and said, “But what is the cost? I don’t have any money.” I told him, “There’s no cost, just bring yourself.” He came along, and then he grabbed me a few weeks later and said, “I was at the very end. I had lost all hope, and I just happened to come to you because I saw your door open, and there you were and there this group was, and it saved me. It’s literally saved me; it’s saved my life.”
For me, everything we do is about the person and their dignity. Each person has needs, emotional and physical, as well as spiritual and pastoral needs. We are bringing people together to meet all of their needs. We have a small building, but it’s a growing community with more and more people arriving. I’m hoping for a Pioneer Evangelist soon so that we can discover new ways to reach people.”
Prayers in Focus
- Pray a business can be found to regularly donate to the foodbank to enable a constant supply of food to those who need it most.
- Pray that the conversations about faith at mealtimes continue to deepen, allowing hearts and minds to be open to seeking God.
- Pray that the Centre of Mission continues to meet the needs of the local community; that they will feel included, valued and welcome.
- Pray for strength and wellbeing for the staff and volunteers.
- Pray for a Pioneer Evangelist to join the team soon to enable Central Fife CoM to make further connections and develop meaningful relationships.