Celebrations are usually about getting together, and the celebration of the birth of the church is no different! Last weekend churches across our region joined together, overcoming a range of challenges, to work together as one church to celebrate and to share with those who didn’t know, what Pentecost is all about. We’ve asked three Ministers to tell us a little more:

Bob McKay from Milton BC

Thy Kingdom Come – Weston super Mare 2020

A visual reminder at the end of the video; to go out into the community

The video that Weston’s Church Leaders recorded for Thy Kingdom Come 2020 was 3 years in the making.

When we arrived at Milton it became very apparent that we rarely, if ever, got involved with the other Churches in Weston. I quickly realised that this was not just an issue with Milton but most Churches in the town. It was more than “we’re too busy with our own Church programs and mission that we don’t have time for doing anything else with the other Churches” It was very much competition bordering hostility with many of the relationships between the Leaders being non-existent.

This was new to me as in every other Church situation I was part of, relationships between Leaders were good.

I have always felt that part of my role as a local Pastor was to attend the local Leaders group and Churches Together and to encourage my Church to attend joint ventures. I’ve also understood that Church unity begins with the Leaders. In our previous Church joint services were very well attended because we were told, “the congregations could see how comfortable their Leaders were in each other’s company.

For two years I continued to prioritise attending the local Leaders Meeting and trying to encourage a greater level of unity between us, but if I’m honest I was losing heart and was questioning whether I should continue attending.

However, this time last year it was my turn to lead the group. We’d just returned from holiday and we were reading all the amazing stories that so many of my friends were sharing about Thy Kingdom Come. I took the opportunity to challenge them about what we were doing as local Churches in Weston to share the Gospel with our local Community.

The outcome was that we picked up the challenge, set a budget, which the larger Churches were happy to cover to avoid the smaller Churches stretching their budget. We then invited Matt Caddick from Shirehampton Baptist Church to lead the worship to avoid any local Church being too prominent, which was very necessary!

The outcome was not what we had wanted due to the Lockdown but we still wanted to do something so we put the Acts 2:1-21 reading together for each Church to show on Pentecost Sunday.

It has been well received and it was great to see all five of the Baptist Churches in Weston involved. You can see the video here and you’ll recognise Alan from Worle, Claire from Locking Parklands, Andy from Church@5 St Anne’s West Wick, Steve from Clarence Park, and myself. 

It’s by no means the finished article, we’ve a long way to go, but it’s a good start and we will be planning Thy Kingdom Come for 2021.

Steve Thomson from Minchinhampton BC

On Sunday 31st May the churches in Minchinhampton, Box and Amberley came to together to celebrate Pentecost. We did have bigger plans of walking together to each of our churches and ending up with a big community event at the end of the parade, but Coronavirus threw a spanner in our planning. We realised our safe option was to create a meaningful joint online service. Not quite the same but it was good to celebrate the birthday of the church and no better way of doing this, than bringing the churches together.

Snapshot of the closing prayer

As clergy across the denominations, we enjoy working together and are good friends. As Churches we come together for occasions such as our joint service together on Easter morning when the sun rises over our common, our service together in the ‘Big Top’ when the circus visits, ‘Scones of Praise’ event… (you can guess what that is! and we have coffee together occasionally. It’s good to remember that the church is much bigger than just our congregation.

Matt Frost from Cirencester BC

Three churches out of the twelve in our town are streaming services online during lockdown. Pentecost Sunday was planned to be a joint service for all of us. Obviously, it didn’t happen. So instead, we invited each church to send in a 20 second Pentecost greeting or blessing on video. If possible, in a language other than English. They all did it  – which was a feat in itself. We released it on Pentecost Sunday morning, and included it in the online services for our church and the main Anglican church. English, Polish Spanish & Welsh was included.

We had three things in mind. A reminder to the churches that we are one church, despite our differences. Secondly, a chance for the smaller churches to get something online, using the resources of the larger churches. And thirdly a chance to show the wider community that the churches in our town like each other.

Matt and Canon Graham Morris (vicar of Cirencester) in the Pentecost video
Let’s continue to pray this week and beyond, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be inspired and enabled by him, to join in with God’s mission, for God’s glory and for the salvation of many.