Even when the church was closed last summer, I said that once back inside we would hold a ‘thank you’ day for our community, and especially for the young people who gave up their pocket money to provide soft drinks and ice-creams for the Police and security teams manning our building.
While this time last year we were covered with snow, we decided that 23 March would be the date. Having heard from friends at Downton Baptist Church how they had hired a travelling farm, I could not think of a better attraction to bring the community together. So, Farmer Ian brought with him Max & Ruby (pigmy donkeys), goats, pigs, chickens and two boxes of chicks which could be held. This was in our car-park; inside the church were teams of helpers and children making elephants from four litre milk containers, and more than 130 masks and butterflies.
Our local Co-op had generously supplied hot dogs, baps and soft drinks catering for what we imagined to be 200 attending. To our amazement we had to buy extra food as between 435 (counted inside the church) – 450 (counted outside the church) attended.
Inside the sanctuary, which had to be our overflow dining hall, were areas that explained who are as a church, and a history of our beginnings in 1991. A highlight (and amusement to many) was our filled baptistery where one man said, ‘This church has a hot tub!’
At 2pm in the main hall we were joined by three local Police who were caught up in both the Salisbury and Amesbury Novichok events. Sgt Russ Griffin gave a word of thanks, as did I.
While being a great success on the day, it had been covered with prayer, with prayer walks, a 2000 leaflet drop, Spire Fm mentions every hour on the Friday before and Saturday morning, along with many personal invitations to neighbours and local schools.
We give thanks to God and pray for other God-inspired events in reaching out to the ‘never-churched’, a term borrowed from Dennis Pethers.
I can’t wait to see what God has next in store for us!