This isn’t a first, but it’s been a few years since we did this. Paul (our vicar) had met with the five Readers-in-training a few weeks back and together we’d decided on theme (“Fill us up and send us out”) and divided up the bits that needed doing… In a daft moment I offered to co-ordinate things since I realised it was a fairly big task that Paul hadn’t time for and someone needed to. I’d been reading about what Jonny Baker calls curation which is what made me recognise the need.
Originally I was going to help Peter MC it… but in the end I sat back – too many people at the front would have spoilt it. It was strange to put so much prayer and thought into something and then not be at the front to deliver it, but strange mostly in a liberating way. It also meant that I could run round in the background and try and make sure that some of what I knew was meant to happen, did happen.
I am glad that I had been to the early service, as worship was something I found impossible – I was to busy watching and worrying, especially after Peter pointed out I’d got the Service Sheet in a (slightly) different order to the Order of Service I’d given the leaders! Something to double check if I do this again. Watching people though I sensed that many of the nearly 200 there had been able to worship, and we were certainly visible to the local community.
Peter’s Puppets were fantastic working out of the windows of Chaddisbrook House, and Ernie’s prayers for the community (with impromptu use of one of Rachel’s wonderful worship flags) were particularly good. It was lovely to commission our Pastoral Team and some folk recently authorised to preach, and moving to send a much loved friend into God’s care in pastures new. But for me the most significant part of the service was when Paul was talking about the Holy Spirit being a healer as the sound of a siren came down the road; without explanation he simply stopped and led us in prayer for the situation to which the ambulance was rushing.
A few of us had gathered to pray for the service the day before, and among those prayers we had asked God to change the mind of those who’d decided not to be at the service. During the picnic that followed the service one of our regular congregation who sometimes finds economics forces her to work on a Sunday stopped to talk to Paul and I about how much she’d felt “topped up” by the Holy Spirit as a result of being at the service – at the last minute she had cancelled a business appointment as she just felt she really needed to be at the service that morning! Thank you God for the witness of answered prayer (which was also seen the gorgeous sunshine we had.)
My husband reeled off a couple of hundred photo’s during the morning, including those that appear here and at this Facebook link. He was also delighted to catch our mystery worshipper on camera… a stag beetle waving it’s mandibles in praise to it’s creator God!