Growing a congregation in the gym

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A local vicar has turned to the gym to get fit and has found a new “frontline” in the process, as well as a caring community of people.

After turning 60, and with the encouragement of her daughter, the Revd Lynn Boyle, vicar at St Paul’s, Compstall joined her local gym, and hasn’t looked back since.

Lynn says she has joined and quit gyms on numerous occasions before, finding them to be quite lonely places. However, it was the spin classes that boosted her confidence.

She says: “There is a fabulous community of people who really, really look after you. The instructors care for you and the other people that you get to know become your champions and supporters. You feel like you might die after being in a spin class for an hour with your head down, but everyone keeps each other going and you make a whole new friendship group in the process.”

As well as getting fit, Lyn has found that coming alongside people in a quiet unassuming way has been an unexpected blessing.

“I don’t wear my collar in the gym, but I never shy away from saying that that’s what I do either; it’s an opportunity to talk to people. I’m not the bravest of people – I’m quite shy really – but being alongside people, especially when we’re going through the physical pain of another spin class, is a great way to get to talk to people. I work out with someone who lost her husband in September and we’ve built a friendship up and work out regularly together now. It’s been really good.”

Lynn says that she doesn’t go out to evangelise but does find that there are opportunities to talk and get to know people who might not otherwise step through the doors of a church.