I had a good day at the Gala yesterday. As always, it's a great example of the community pulling together to create a gentle and welcoming event that everyone can enjoy. I did a few stints at the "Sponge the Vicar" stall, providing fun to many small children who enjoyed soaking me. I also got to talk to many fascinating people and prayed with some too.
The day was marred by a massive power surge which caused various electrical items to fizzle (and seems to have burned out our data projectors and the office computer). The good thing about that was that we felt we had to empty the building, which took The Church out on to the street, where many conversations were struck up that might never have taken place if it wasn't for the power problem. Downside is that a lot of staff time was taken up today with trying to resolve the power issues.
The Gala remains one of my favourite days of the year. It's a gift for the community and it's also a gift to us as a church: we get to welcome people coming to us with generous hospitality, listening, prayer, fun and food. Our visitors love it, our team serves beautifully and we learn a lot. Most significantly, we get to point to the Lord Jesus in our words and in our deeds.
Here's one of the people I met yesterday (courtesy of Graham Lynch). I don't think I did a very good job of persuading him to stop working for the Dark Side!