After the Open Day and tea, the rooms had to be tidied somewhat and chairs put back out in the main hall so that we could hold the evening celebration there.
Beryl and Paula worked hard to decorate the church with flowers and did a great job:
Man doesn’t live on bread alone, and neither did we on Saturday! After the Open Day finished, church members and friends who had worked so hard with us on this faith journey had a meal together. In our area, this kind of meal is often known as a ‘faith tea’, meaning that each person brings something to contribute to the meal (I believe it’s known as a ‘pot-luck’ meal in America.) Whatever the title, we had an amazing meal!
Our thanks go to all who provided such fabulous, filling food!
Names in the Bible generally have far more significance than in our Western society. Abram (‘exalted father’) became Abraham (‘father of many’). Jacob (‘he grasps the heel’, figuratively ‘he deceives’) became Israel (‘he struggles with God’). Jesus was thus named because it means ‘Jehovah is salvation’ and was also known as ‘Emmanuel’ (‘God with us’) and ‘Christ’ (‘Anointed One’).
So that people could easily identify those who belonged to the church and were there to help, we issued name labels to church members and helpers. Here are a few of those helpers:
It was disconcerting at times to have total strangers address us by name! (‘How do they know my name…? Oh, yes, the name label!’), but perhaps even more encouraging for us all is to remember that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life and that one day “I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)
At the start of the planning for the Open Day, it was decided to use the corridor space to host a photo gallery to show people how the work progressed. We spent one evening looking through hundreds of photos to try to narrow them down to the 46 we could have. In the end, we could not do that, so compromised initially on having about 75 in a photo album, eventually narrowing the choice down.
The 46 photos in the photo gallery were then enlarged (at a very good price, courtesy of Stan Plus Stan Two studios, to whom thanks are given) and we embarked on the next difficult job: choosing photo frames. We bought a selection of frames and discovered we all like different things! Eventually, we settled on a gold frame with an ivory coloured mount and Wilkinson’s manfully dealt with our online bulk order.
The fact that my husband is an engineer and my son a maths student proved useful at this point. Knowing how many photos would comfortably fit into the space involved the ‘golden ratio’ (no, I didn’t understand that, either) and measuring from the floor upwards (all the photos are at the same height, regardless of if the picture is portrait or landscape) and across each wall, so that spacing is consistent. As I say, maths has followed me everywhere recently!
Garry then spent the next X hours (where X seems an incredibly large number) cutting out caption holes in the mounts and sticking in captions to describe the photos. There were times when it felt like our house was being over-run by photos and frames! Time was also disappearing far more quickly than our ability to finish framing photos, but in the end, the photos were hung on Thursday as we had the Open Day on Saturday…
The final 46th photo will be of the official opening, so I’d better get on with sorting that out now!
We need technical people to help things run smoothly, and these guys were great. They were responsible for the presentation which ran throughout the day, for the background music in the main hall, for giving us words to sing to in the evening meeting and for the sound amplification. It was interesting to see how people of like minds tended to gravitate to this little corner of the room!!
Thanks, guys! You’re great!
Church events just wouldn’t be the same without refreshments! It seems we spend as much time making cups of tea and coffee as we do on any other activity, and the Open Day was no exception. In deference to the number of mugs we own, the number of people who can fit into the church kitchen and the amount of time we had, we invested in some disposable cups for the Open Day to help speed things up.
Below are photos of people enjoying the refreshments served throughout the day, and a very big THANK YOU to all those from church who tirelessly worked in a very hot kitchen (we didn’t find out how to open the windows until the Sunday!!) to keep the rest of us refreshed.
It’s one thing to be physically refreshed by drinks – and on a hot day like Saturday, we needed that! But there is a spiritual refreshing which is also possible, and we received that too: the refreshment of so many friends and family being present to share our joy and the refreshment that comes from God alone.
Paul writes, “I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.” (1 Cor 16:17-18) and “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.“(Philemon 1:7) Thank you to all those whose presence with us refreshed our hearts.
We hold on, too, to the promises of God:
“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” (Jer 31:25)
“You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance” (Ps 68:9)
Times of refreshing from God are precious indeed:
“Times of refreshing
Here in Your presence,
No greater blessing
Than being with You
My heart is restored,
My mind is renewed,
There’s no greater joy, Lord,
Than being with You”
Once in the building, people had great fun!