The BIG DAY OUT, Flamingo Land
Big? Nearly 1000 URC people there. Day? Saturday 14th September was a beautiful day, the weather was really kind to us! Out? Well, so many people came out of their shells, came out to enjoy God’s love and God’s creation, and we put ourselves on the map as an OUTgoing church!
If you turned up to Flamingo Land off your own back you may not have noticed much different about Flamingo Land. Except
- Some very friendly people with bright green t-shirts on;
- A puzzle that you could complete as you went round the park;
- A messy picnic with crafts and music;
- A chance to discuss big issues over a cup of tea: Chai and Chat;
- A huge hymn-along singing all your favourite hymns;
- A rousing closing worship with a brilliant talk by Synod Evangelist, Ashley Evans about God’s transformative love;
Okay… so maybe a lot! There sure was a lot going on, and what an awesome day it was!
As I travelled around the site, all I could see was fun, laughter, friendships, and the odd frightened scream (I must stress, this was not due to my travelling around site. There were rollercoasters, promise!) It was an incredible atmosphere.
I was fortunate enough to be part of the prayer ministry team put on throughout the day for the entire park, not just URC folk. During my morning slot I was stood by our prayer tree. At which people were invited to tie a ribbon onto the tree to remember/pray for somebody or a situation. One particular family, not there with the URC, stopped at the tree, at which point I briefly explained what this was about. One lady said to another (the two were sisters) “See, I told you we’d see a sign!”. The two sisters explained the situation:
“As a family, with our kids, we come every year to Flamingo Land at roughly this time of year. This year was the first year we, the sisters, have come without our dad, who died in April. We still wanted to come this year to remember him and enjoy the day in his memory. I said to my sister there’d be a sign that he was still with us, which she disagreed with and said “No no no”. But this really is a sign and we’re so glad to see this. It’s a tough day anyway, but this has made it so much better”.
At this point the family members each tied a ribbon to the tree. Tearfully they stood and observed some silence, after which I offered up a prayer to God for this family.
I could have gone home there and then. If our work, our mission, can reach out in this kind of way to one person, one family, then it is all worthwhile. To let even one person know they are loved by God, and prayed for, is a huge thing, something that was so special to this family.
So my challenge to you, friends, is this: Go out, and be that person to just one person this week. A friend going through a tough time, a family member who’s really struggling, a work colleague, anyone. Let them know you’re praying for them, be there for them, as God is too.