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Diversity defeated downpour

Twenty churches join forces for mission in rain-drenched Northampton
 
Everyone Together - 80compress
 
African Pentecostals danced and a Catholic priest celebrated liturgy while families from various cultural backgrounds shared their picnics. Together they created a display of church unity spearheaded by HOPE Northampton.
 
Constant rain had meant a quick change of venue for the planned Pentecost in the Park – but that didn’t dampen people’s spirits. They shifted the proceedings indoors from Abington Park to the nearby Christ Church.
 
And despite the downpour and the change in dynamics, 1,000 people turned up on Sunday 12th June for the one-day programme of music, talks, puppet show, face painting and a whole range of activities for all ages.
 
Executive Director of HOPE Roy Crowne delivered the key talks at three services throughout the day. Worship was led by local musicians – including African and Caribbean choirs and a youth band.
 
Roy remarked on the multi-ethnic flavour of the event, which also drew people from the local Polish and Chinese communities. ‘It wasn’t just a worship moment – it was a mission moment,’ he said.
 
A woman shared her story of how she’d found hope after attending the previous year’s event. Lonely and struggling with life’s problems, she had a personal experience of God there. Her talk was a highlight of the day.
 
Behind the initiative were 20 different churches. And to prepare, they had already undertaken ten days of prayer and two days of ‘faith on the streets’ mission. Nearly 70 contacts were made, and five people discovered faith.
 
Among event supporters were two key Catholic and Anglican churchmen from the region – Canon John Udris from the Cathedral of Our Lady and Saint Thomas, and Rev David Wiseman, Area Dean of Greater Northampton.
 
Their backing further underlined the broad scope of Pentecost in the Park. ‘The feedback we’ve had from people has been excellent,’ said event organiser and local Vineyard pastor Lewis Houston.
 
‘What we saw was the diversity of the body of Christ,’ said Roy Crowne, reflecting on the day. ‘What a privilege it was to actually see it. That’s Pentecost.’
 
The essence and ethos of Hope was expressed in the day’s proceedings, and the planning that went behind it all – as people worked together and went out into the community. ‘It had a transforming effect,’ Roy added.

 


Clive Price, 15/06/2011

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