Touchstone is a 'listening community' with the vision of making safe places of hospitality where people who are radically different can listen to and with each other. Based in the heart of Bradford, Britain's first majority Muslim city, Touchstone has worked alongside diverse communities for over 30 years.
The Touchstone Centre is sponsored by the Methodist Church in Britain and is open to all. It is situated within walking distance (half mile south) of Bradford City Centre in a large Victorian house on a residential street.
Enquiries about visits to the Centre or visits by staff to other places are always welcome. We are open during office hours, but also at other times and we welcome visitors from many places. Visitors are particularly welcome on Thursdays to join our weekly prayers at 12.45pm and stay for lunch.
Weaving is a traditional activity in Bradford. In the 19th Century the city was an international centre of textile manufacture and known as the 'Wool Capital of the World'. Although most of the mills have now closed, there are still many memories of weaving in Bradford and colourful markets selling wonderful fabric. Stories about weaving are also around in the many cultures that form the community here, in particular amongst asylum seekers and refugees from around the world and the many Pakistani families who have links with the mills. Touchstone has a loom so that anyone who visits can 'have a go' and begin to share stories and creativity.
One type of 'touchstone' is a very ordinary looking rock which is used to test the purity of gold and gold alloys - the metal leaves streaks when drawn across the touchstone. Our ordinary looking house is a place where people can discover the best in themselves. Another 'touchstone' is the fool in Shakespeare's "As You Like It". There is a long tradition among Christians that one should be prepared to look foolish in order to achieve things that are good and worthwhile.
What is Touchstone Involved In?
Our work centres around the following areas:
- Enabling people of different faith backgrounds to understand each other
- Taking time to listen to the struggles and experiences people have
- Understanding the relationship between England and Pakistan
- Learning to be confident about what Jesus means to us
- Being proud of West Yorkshire people and their heritage
- Having fun together doing creative activities whilst listening to stories