Thursday, 12 July 2007

A busy weekend

Last weekend was a busy one.

Saturday (07/07/07... oo-er) was the annual Fun Day organised by the 'Friends of Swinton Grove Park'. This is a group of local residents who work with the Council's Leisure department to improve and look after the local park. Judith and I are two-fifths of the current regular membership, and the Fun Day is the biggest event of the year, both in terms of people coming and workload. Other neighbours help out on the day with the various activities (though a few more present when we started setting up at 9.30am would have been good) and the Leisure staff provide things like a generator, gazeebos etc. The recent wet weather meant numbers were down this year to around 300-350 (last year it was over 600), though there was actually no rain to speak of during the day.

It was great to see such a mix of people there from many different ethnic groups - a snapshot of our area really - all getting along and having a good time. The only iffy moment was when the bingo went haywire and the game had to be re-started... they take their bingo seriously round here! All in all a nice bit of community cohesion building in these times of 'terror', though due to the nature of our media (in part a reflection of the news we want. Discuss.) the only place you'll hear about it is right here! If you want to see some photos go here.

Sunday - Early Sunday, 7am early - was Alannah's Car Boot Sale to raise funds for her time in Zimbabwe. Thanks to the generosity of friends and folks at church we had a lot of stuff to sell and it was good fun. We couldn't find a sale on any other day than Sunday, so we had to miss church, joining of course with the many others who do so every week. It was our first time running a stall, but the traders either side and behind us were friendly and helpful, and very interested in what we were raising money for. We had some good conversations with them and a number of the shoppers. The regular traders and shoppers all knew each other and all day there was banter and laughter. In other words, a Sunday Morning community, arguably more open and welcoming than some others I could mention...

Something coming through time and time again in my sabbatical reading is the importance of community and relationships, and how they should be modeled by an outward-facing Church as a taster for the Kingdom of God. The thing is community 'out there' at it's best could teach us a thing or two! We shouldn't be trying to replace the positives of community and relationships already happening, or, perish the thought, breeze in saying, 'Watch, let us do community for you'. But we can add into the mix an awareness of the God who is already present and working among, and so make community three dimensional by adding a vertical element to the horizontal.

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