Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Trendlewood Community Festival - Vicar's Reflections

For those clergy who find their church building at the heart of a community around a village green this will come as no shock, but churches have a great tradition of getting people together. The church fete, the village fete, the Christmas fayre and the like all gather people.

So what do you do to develop community when you have no building?

This was the question two members of our church were playing around with as they sat at a swimming pool watching a children's lesson. And the idea of our festival was born.

It is a real privilege to be the minister of a church where ideas are generated and acted upon.

The idea was brought to the leadership (Trendlewood Committee) who embraced it but took the sensible decision to cancel something else we usually did (our church weekend) in order to concentrate on it.

It is great to work with a group of leaders who ask 'How can we make this work?' rather than saying it won't.

Then the work started. Co-led by an intern and a volunteer who dropped one day a week's paid work in order to serve, the different aspects of the festival were allocated to four or five people and eight months of planning, blogging, promoting and recruiting started. I have no idea how many people hours were involved but last weekend I reckon a key 15 people did about 600 hours.

Using the grounds of the school where we meet on a Sunday we ran a local festival for local people - not quite as Royston Vasey as it sounds. People from the estate shared their produce, their gifts, their collections and their time.

We may have lost a little money. We may have slightly over-catered. But between 400 and 600 people turned up for a day in the sun.

The police said it was one of the best-organised festivals they have ever attended and want to come back. The food hygiene inspectors were impressed with the care.

On Sunday the 55 people in church were the bitter-enders (Venture folk will know what this means) knackered, but glowing with the satisfaction of a job well done. Instead of coffee after church they took down yet another marquee. Respect. And thanks.

It is great to be the minister of a church where permission-giving ministry allows this sort of thing to happen. What's next?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As for Steve himself, I noticed he spent a large part of the afternoon walking round in rubber gloves carrying a black bin bag and clearing up the rubbish.