The Methodist Church Tower Hamlets

Churches & projects serving London's East End

Conversation Welcome

John Wesley was a great advocate of small group study meetings, where Methodists were encouraged to help and support each other

Broken – a six week study course by Dr Paula Gooder
at Bethnal Green Church on Sundays from 12.30-14.00
Next session: May 13th
Then (missing one week) May 27th

Each week we watch an episode of Broken (with Sean Bean as Fr Michael) and discuss the challenging issues he is called upon to deal with in his community and congregation. 

Next session of Broken focuses on Roz - who has stolen over £200,000 from her employer over a number of years that has mostly been used to fund her gambling addiction, and she is about to be found out. She sees taking her own life as the only way out of this problem. Come and join us as we watch the story then reflect on theft and lying, guilt and shame, and keeping a confidence.

Week 1 - Single mum Christina with three small children, living from hand to mouth.  Her coping strategies reach breaking point and her ways of dealing with the situation lead her in an ever decreasing downward spiral.  The Priest feels her pain and offers love and comfort, when what she needs is food and money!  He understands and sympathises deeply; he is always there for her, but is helpless to provide for all the poor and suffering around him.  He prayed with them, and he prayed for them.   Even in a tv drama, the calming effect of prayer on the frenzy of despair was palpable.   

  • We pondered what could be done 
  • We tried to imagine how we might feel in various situations presented
  • It became clear that we are limited by our own context and experience
  • We are encouraged not to judge the decisions of others, but to be constant in offering love and prayer

Week 2 -  Christina receives a suspended two year sentence for falsely claiming her dead mother’s pension. Father Michael is visited by someone called Roz who has defrauded her boss of £200,000 and thinks she will be found out, so intends to commit suicide.  
We also meet Helen, and her son Vernon.  Vernon is mentally ill, but due to a shortage of beds is released from the care facility in which he currently lives, back into the care of his mother.  He becomes very disturbed and Helen calls Father Michael for help. It is late and he is tired so he doesn’t answer the phone, but he does hear the message she left.  When he doesn’t answer, Helen calls the mental health team who in turn send the police.  At the end of the confrontation between them, Vernon is shot and killed. 

Using Luke 10:25-37 (The Good Samaritan) we reflected on how Father Michael and others in the drama responded when needed:

  • Do I have to respond to every need all the time? 
  • What happens when I am tired and need a rest?  
  • We also recognised the impact that feeling guilty can have on us
  • and how we then respond to challenges and situations
This was another challenging episode that raises a lot of questions.

Week 3 - Constable Andrew faces dilemma between telling the truth as he saw it and backing his Police Team, in the enquiry into Vernon's death.   The episode is harrowing to watch and experience.
The discussion was emotional and often quite personal, as we struggled with 'doing the right thing' in the face of great personal difficulty.


Notes on the Lent course 2018



We look forward to meeting you

 Methodist Org UK

 Charity Number 1134888