Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sheffield Praise Day 2014

The roll-out starts on Thursday, when the carpets go down in Ponds Forge's main auditorium.  I'm becoming a veteran at this, but was trapped between driving back up the M1 after two days of meetings and the earlier start arranged for the job.   Jamie was game to give a hand, and it turned out that Pastor Freddie, who uses the Jesus Centre for his Sunday church events, brought a bunch of his guys, too.  So we made cracking progress.  We were finished soon after 10pm, which is a whole lot better than the midnight or later of previous years.

On Friday, while the Untamed bus and evangelism crew were in the city centre again, Carl Beech dropped in for coffee at the Jesus Centre.  He's (until the end of the year) the front man of Christian Vision for Men, and he's speaking at the evening event at our next Men Alive for God day.  You can catch him on Premier Radio's regular Sunday Shed Talk programme. 

Empower, Sheffield's quarterly inter-church prayer event, was booked for 24 hours from 7pm Friday until 7pm Saturday.  I got along towards 9pm and stayed until towards 2am.  In a group with folks from Rotherham, we prayed about the churches' response to the recent abuse cases, trying to get behind the media portrayals.  After midnight the worship lead music went acapella: I don't know if 'St Phily' has a late-night 'no noise' restriction like our Jesus Centre.  Next year we'll see if we can prevent the diary overlap.

Clare had flown in from Gibraltar for the weekend, and we'd promised a chat over coffee, as we'd done at London Day in Trafalgar Square.  She arrived at breakfast time, and four of us - including Mary and Steven - spent the morning catching up.  Meanwhile, the house was buzzing with other folks who'd arranged to stay, and No25 was packed with the techie set-up team 'indoor camping'.

When lunchtime arrived at Ponds Forge, most of the back section of bleacher banked seating was roped off so folks didn't spread out too thinly across the hall.   Sadly, the number attending never justified opening up these seats, and it's clear that the event now runs under with under 1,000 folks present.  The afternoon session concentrated on our five core values: Holy Spirit life and movement, new humanity brotherhood, sacrificial love, a culture of sharing, and mission focus.

 In the evening, we found out why the chairs on the floor has been laid out with a circular perimeter.  From above, the layout formed the Arabic letter nun.  At Praise Day we stand with the persecuted church, and the Middle East was in focus.

Back home, over supper we shared about the highlights of the whole event and the evangelism campaign of the preceding days.  A good number of our Jesus Centre Lounge drop-in had attended and got on well.  The presentations were worthy of a packed meeting, but that's part of a bigger challenge of adjustment.

1 comment:

Aidan Ashby said...

I thought the back seats were unused to save PA costs? We had more people seated on the ground level than we usually do.