Bank Holiday Monday was spent attending Moorgreen County Show at Watnall. I particularly wanted to go to this as I was amongst the Eastwood Clergy who first expressed an interest in having a Christian input at this annual Bank Holiday event. I have never been able to attend before due to mission work which always fell over this weekend.
It was an interesting experience. The Christian tent had been in operation for the full weekend, staffed by a variety of people from a variety of Churches. On the Monday there was a Punch and Judy show at regular intervals. For the full day there was some wonderful children`s work taking place with balloons, face painting, crafts and more; alongside this there was a prayer area which always seemed to have visitors (indeed I was to learn later that there is now an extensive prayer list for the volunteers to work through); elsewhere in the tent was a huge catering area offering refreshments which were warmly received all day. This was probably the busiest part of the tent as there was a constant flow of people wandering in and out.
Holding it all together was a live band from one of the local churches who played regular slots of Christian music, almost as background music, but warmly appreciated by those who sat to listen. They were of a top quality.
Talking to some of the organisers of the Christian input I enquired of their aim and they felt that it was about having a presence in the community. It wasn`t about pushing the Christian faith in an openly evangelistic way but it was more about Christian service to the community and showing thast in all walks of life the Christian faith has something to say.
The committee will be holding a debrief next month and will consider what happened and what can happen towards next year; there seems to be a real drive to develop year on year and not sit back and simply accept “how it is”. I did suggest about the possibility of a Sunday act of worship next year, about the possibility of an advertising board of Church events (alpha courses etc.) in the local area etc.
The advertising bumpf for the whole show declared this to be a champion day out for all the family. I really felt as though the Church met this statement and more.
So what are to make of it ? Is it an interesting day out for Christians to show that they are `nice` people ? Is it simply a means of assuaging our guilt over not evangelising enough and giving us the feeling that “at least we`re doing something” ?
I feel that its possibly a mixture of all those things, but my mind keeps going back to Peter trying to walk on water; his sinking into the water wasn`t failure but in many ways was a huge success for as he sank he needed to rely on Jesus; I believe his faith would have grown that day. No, the real failure was in the other disciples who didn`t get out of the boat and `have a go` !
Maybe this was a venture in `niceness`, or in safe evangelism, or in serving the community, but I feel that more than that it was a venture in trying to do what Jesus is asking of us despite our fears, our inadequacies, our supposed failings, and therefore it is a success in relying on Jesus for guidance.
Looking forward to next years show already.