As we prepared for the festival various local groups and organisations got involved, offered help or produced exhibits for the church. Community is a two way thing, it should never be just the church pushing an agenda of evangelising the area or on the other hand the community expecting the church to be there for them when they remember it. It needs to be a win win situation both those who are part of the church and those who are not but are in the wider community, need to feel involved, appreciated and need to enjoy the experience. Church needs to be a place of welcome and belonging.
A local Art group produced paintings of biblical events and people, the gardening club produced incredible floral displays and one person produced a beautiful front of church display of flowers, fruit and vegetables. The local primary school produced a diorama of Adam and Eve and a local florist, a garden centre, a funeral home and a baker all helped in various ways.
Community working together produced a display in the church and a lot of fun through games, bouncy castles and craft, that let everyone enjoy themselves, many staying far longer than they intended, meeting all sorts of needs for all sorts of people across a wide age range.There is biblical precedent for this, when Jesus was talking to the community, they stayed so long that his disciples worried about what they would give them to eat. Jesus knew their need and met it, thousands were fed. One of our floral displays interpreted this passage.
Jesus met their need to hear him, to be healed and then to be fed. The various groups helped us financially, practically and with their skills while many picked up a bible to read the stories so that they could interpret them. We provided a place to show, a place to have fun, a place to bring all of their "offerings" as we brought thanks to God for all he gives us. In doing all of this bridges have been built which I pray will allow a two way flow as we become very much part of our community.