The first Queen's Park Carol Service was a hit! We loved seeing so many people around for an afternoon of fun and connections. God was incredibly kind in bringing some 100 people together. We love this community. We love our team. We love starting a new community together. Here's a little more about how it went...
The Carol Service was a lot of fun. We sang traditional Carols and had some time to meet people in the community. There were a couple of really cool stories that really encouraged us. One was meeting a family that we "randomly" met 18 months ago on the trip where we visited Queen's Park for the first time! They received a flyer through the door and thought they'd turn up. How cool is that?!
There were about 70 adults and 30 something children around for the Service. The children were noisy and having fun (just the way we like it!) and there was a real community spirit in the room. Thomas shared a short Bible talk where he talked about how Jesus is The Gift of Christmas. Our staff team couples took turns reading through the Christmas story and it seemed like an all around great night!
Was it perfect? Of course not. We found plenty we can work on and do better next year through our evaluations. Yet it was am authentic time of building a new community. We were especially encouraged to hear some people talk about how much they appreciated a fresh way to get together as a community. It seemed like people were able to get a sense that this is a new kind of spiritual community and families are especially welcome. We loved having everyone around.
It Takes A Team
Our small launch team put on an afternoon to remember. Some people looked after a kids area where they could make an ornament and play a little while parents talked. Others looked after some refreshments that people enjoyed as they stood around and talked after the Service. Others managed the setup and others the teardown and load-out at the end. It was launch team members as well as children running around and making it happen, together. We love the team that God is bringing together. There is a special sense of community even on the team as we seek to build this new community together.
We couldn't have had the Service without our London-based church planting Network: Co-Mission. Co-Mission helped us pull together a four-piece band and sent a few people from other churches to actually help staff the stations and free our team up to talk with people. It was a real team effort and a team win.
The Carol Service was the first public gathering Redeemer has held in Queen's Park. We've been gathering for Community Group bible studies and Pub Chats but this was the first big event for the whole community. In a couple of months we will put something on around Easter. In the meantime, we're ramping up for "The Redeemer Sessions." The Sessions are designed to give people a relaxed way to learn more about Redeemer without committing to being a part of the Redeemer community. More to come on the vision for these in a couple of weeks. For now, check it out.
We're feeling it. We're encouraged by the Carol Service and now we're getting the typical run-down feeling that follows intense seasons. The kiddos are both doing great and we're both battling a little bit of a cold. Such is to be expected when the adrenaline eases and some time for repair sets it.
We're trying to finish up a few tasks on the ministry front and ramp down the year. Thomas and Daniel have a full day of meetings tomorrow that should help sort a lot of things for the year and allow our families to get some rest. We're hoping to take off for two weeks from Friday.
It's surreal. We've been looking forward to the Carol Service for over a year now. It's been a long-standing goal to get the community together, to share about the hope that we've found in Jesus, and it's happened. Now, we find some time to rest, reflect, and get ready for the road-to-Easter which lies just on the other side of the Christmas holiday break.
We wish we got to take a few more family photos around the Service but it was lots going on! More to come, next time...
There's a few other things we want to update you on in the week ahead. You'll hear from us again before Christmas.
For tonight, thank you. Thank you for being on the journey with us. Thank you for your prayers this last week and thank you for your support that makes ministry in London possible. We are grateful for you.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."