Passion for community at a well of spirituality

Marjorie Allen takes us to the Well church on ecclesall road for her Favourite Things
Marjorie Allen takes us to the Well church on ecclesall road for her Favourite Things

Marjorie Allan, aged 42, lives in Nether Edge with her three young children and husband Nick. Together the couple are Baptist ministers at The Well on Ecclesall Road – a lively, growing, contemporary church. Originally from south Dublin, Marjorie has spent the last 14 years living in Sheffield. Before being involved in church ministry, Marjorie trained as a linguist and worked as an interpreter in cities such as Paris, Dublin and Madrid. All are welcome to The Well’s family service on Christmas morning from 10am. Visit www.wellsheffield.com for details of the Living Well project – health for mind, body and soul – and The Alpha course exploring the Christian faith, both starting in January.

The People

If I could only choose only one thing I love about Sheffield, it’s the people. The born-and-bred Sheffielders we have in our church community are for the most part very warm, strong characters with a tremendous sense of fun. If I have adopted them into my heart they have adopted me, the banter we have with them is super. I also love how international Sheffield has become. You don’t have to look very far to find Spanish, Chinese or Eritrean speaking communities and the list goes on. We held an international garden party at The Well last spring and we had some 40 nationalities represented. And with so many students and remaining graduates here, Sheffield is a young city and there is a lot of life about the place. I really love to spend time with the younger generation, watching and listening to their thoughts and ideas.

The Outdoor Life

It is rare for a city to have such access to the hills and countryside. No matter which side of the city you live on and whether you walk, run, cycle, drive, or take the bus you can get out into green hills really quickly. Our family was given a wonderful border collie puppy last year which has forced me to leave home and office, in all weathers and at odd times, and take to the woods, Peaks and parks. It’s these ‘pause’ moments in my life that give me fresh perspectives and new ideas. Again, I love the community sense of enjoying the outdoors.

The Park Run

On a Saturday morning you will generally find me and my three young children (and indeed many of The Well) out running the Hallam Park Run in Endcliffe Park . We started about two years ago and it’s such a great way to begin the weekend. I love how it’s free and organised by volunteers. I’ve even seen Jessica Ennis-Hill there!

Ecclesall Road

Ecclesall Road never bores me. It’s been a whole lot of fun for us to begin a new church at this hub of our city. So much is going on. I love how some people chill alone in some corner of a café; others socialise and celebrate, while for many it’s a place to work. We often hold meetings in Nonna’s or Couch. You see everything here, with many of the city’s poorest and desperate on our doorsteps, so sometimes my conversations can be tough. Our church is looking for opportunities to join in and serve the city to make it great. Sometimes it is creative, like our music nights; sometimes it’s bringing wholeness and hope to others through our Spirit Café and drop-in Healing Centre. Sometimes it’s as simple as local litter picking (which is endless!).

A&E department, Northern General Hospital

I joined the chaplaincy team at the hospital this year as an NHS emergency department pastor. We support the staff (who do an incredible job) and come alongside patients or families in their hour of need. While there’s a lot going on and it’s never an easy place to be – always hot and tiring – I believe it’s a good place for me to spend my time because you meet people from all walks of life who make up this city.

The Drive to Hathersage and Colemans Deli

Whatever season of the year the trip from Ringinglow Road to Hathersage lifts my spirits every time. My husband and I love to end up there on our days off. In fact, if we weren’t so passionate and connected to the city of Sheffield, we’d probably live in this village. The public footpaths are beautiful, and our favourite stop is Colemans Deli – they do great coffee and incredible sandwiches. I love to sit at one of their outside benches on a hot day, to pass the hours before the city calls me back.