Just home from a fantastic afternoon and evening at Rothley Methodist Church.
We started with Messy Church at 3pm. This was only our second Messy Church (4th Saturday every month 3pm til 5pm) yet we had 24 kids and 19 adults.
Just to put that in context 19 adults is more than we tend to average on a Sunday morning! Lots of people that I am meeting for the first time :-)
In one of those nice "coincidences" that come after prayer and response, we were focused on the feeding of the 5,000 at this Messy Church. Lots of creative stuff, of which quite a bit was edible :-) Then marching into worship sing "One little boy who shared his lunch" to the tune "Ten Little Indians", then a video on the story, some interactive reflections on the story, a couple of Fischy Music action songs that fitted well ("We can do good" and "We all need encouragment") and prayers before we went back out to the hall to find the sausages were not quite ready. So I stole an idea from Birstall Messy Church where a parachute is used to bounce prayers upto God. We didn't have either a parachute or space for one with all this many people so we had a virtual parachute which worked just as well :-)
By then the very special "Truly Irrestible" Co-Operative sausages were ready along with the potatos, peas and beans (I was determined that we would have sausages that we would not read about horse in them during the week!). Pam had made a variety of cakes to follow that which also went down very well.
By this point the bread in fish shapes (ish) that the children had made were bakes so they could take them home along with all the other things they had made.
It was a brilliant afternoon, only made possible by a wonderful congregation who are enjoying a new lease of life having so many children in the Church. The congregation have been brilliant at inviting people and then being there to welcome them as well as getting involved in lots of practical ways. Sue, our senior Steward has lots of wonderfully creative ideas for the crafts (comes with a lovely mixture from her years of experience as a Beaver Leader and also as a Worship Leader).
After that we just had time to clear up and re-arrange the whole building for an evening of "Folk and Food", part of our 190th year celebrations. So we had a 10 strong Eileen's Little Big Band to play for us (as well as a couple of pieces sung by Christine from our own congregation). Lots of community singing of a mixture of secular and faith songs such as "Outragous Grace". A real highlight was Keith talking about his Baptism 3 weeks ago at Syston and then singing "Pour over me" with David on the piano. A very powerful testimony :-)
We had 60 people there which meant we were packed out! So nice to open the partition to the Church and move pews in order to add more space to the hall. In fact when it came to the eating many spread out into the Church (where I was serving beautiful Cameroon Tank Coffee having borrowed Syston's coffee machine and 4 x 2.2 litre pump flasks).
Everyone had a great time. So good to see the congregation enjoying having so many people joining them.
It has been an amazing few days for our little Chapel, last week we hosted a Circuit Sunday Morning Service. I wasn't there as I was on holiday but heard it was very full and again the congregation were loving the support of so many coming to celebrate 190 years of God's love in and through this congregation.
We have lots more things coming during this 190th year of celebration including services by Stella Bristow (former Vice President of the Methodist Connexion), Peter Hancock (Northampton District Chair) and a number of preachers/ministers with connections with the Chapel from the past.