Well, here I am at 12.30 a.m. and still buzzing from a fantastic night at Birchwood Chapel where Alison, Alison Wood and Lesley had arranged a surprise party with people from all over the circuit and beyond. I was totally `gobsmacked` by the whole event; I certainly didn’t expect it.
Alison had persuaded me to dress up in black dicky bow tie and suit, then put a hood over my head just as we left the house. The neighbours must have thought I was being abducted ! She then drove me to a surprise venue which turned out to be Birchwood Chapel where the hall was full of 100+ people and decorated in black and white with pictures of the finest team in the land all over the walls. Our friend Judith had designed a huge banner which spelt out “Happy Birthday Michael” in sign language. Tina Turner was played over the music system and a “This is your life” complete with pictures was carried out by Alison Wood to the accompaniment of lots of laughter, especially the photo of me taking the part of Judas Iscariot in `Jesus Christ Superstar`
All in all its been wonderful.
A retiring collection was taken up as people left and the magnificent sum of £250 was raised which will be given to the Chalmers family for their work in Romania, and what a joy it was that they were able to be with us. As I explained to everyone tonight their work is very special and dear to me, and they will be able to use this money to bring the love of Jesus to the families of Poiana.
I feel very privileged that all of these people thought enough of me to want to carry this out tonight. When people speak about the Church in derogotary tones they miss out on the special friendship and fellowship which exists and the love of Jesus which unites us. When I came into the Ministry God promised me that he would give me a new family. He has kept that promise in abundance in Oldham, Erewash and now in Ripley. He has given me a much bigger family and tonight showed that as all three areas and my Rotary family were represented. God is good.
One day I’ll have to move on again; tonight has made that so much harder because of the love shown so powerfully.
Thank you to all who organised, prepared, supplied food, hosted, and attended.This has indeed been the best birthday ever. Being 50 is grrrrrrrrreat !!!!!!!!!!!