As I write I’m still reeling with happy memories of our Bible Readathon during Christian Aid week and our wonderful All Nations celebration and lunch. I’ve had so many conversations with people from within our church and beyond about the blessings which have come from both of these things. Isn’t it a joy to see how coming together with a common purpose, helping others, worshipping and eating together are all things which the Lord uses to build us as a community.
The Bible Readathon was our biggest effort yet to raise money for Christian Aid. We launched on Wednesday evening during our Recharge service where we prayed and dedicated our efforts to God. The reading then continued, non-stop, until 7.30am on Sunday morning!
On Friday night we sang the Psalms where the band and AV team led us in a mix of songs and hymns based on the Psalms. It was such an uplifting and relaxed time of worship which provided a much-needed break from the reading.
Following this our young people and their leaders stayed all night in the building to continue the reading. They were simply amazing in their dedication and determination, I’m so proud of them all. They and their leaders had precisely NO sleep and thoroughly enjoyed having the run of the building. They had a late-night meal provided by Catalina, and a full English breakfast in the morning provided by Morwenna!
As for our younger children, they had a special Zoom story time on Saturday night and Alice provided Makaton memory verses each day
Throughout the 82.5 hours a committed team of hosts took turns monitoring the live stream, welcoming the readers and keeping everything going. The super dedicated John Sinclair covered the 1am-5am shift every night (that’s FOUR nights) and was duly presented with a medal in the Sunday service!
One of the things that’s been so powerful is the realisation that we are part of such a huge worldwide family – the people of God! We had over 100 readers from Woking, many other parts of England, Scotland, Canada, USA, Netherlands, Hungary, South Africa and Australia. We heard reading in Afrikaans, Cantonese, German, Korean, Mandarin and English. Many of our international friends from different time zones helped us with the night-time slots.
Overall, there was a tremendous spirit of unity and purpose among our church community and I found myself moved on many occasions by the beauty of it all (even at hours of the night that I’m not often acquainted with!). We had thousands of viewers online over the four days and pray that seeds of faith and hope have been sown.
All of this was to raise money to support the incredible work of Christian Aid who partner with communities all over the world to tackle poverty, the results of climate change and to respond to emergencies. As I write, our total is well over £10, 000 and still rising. It’s not too late to give, either via the Just Giving page on our website or using the giving machine in the church building.
As if that were not enough, the whole event was rounded off with our All Nations service on Sunday 21st May. During the service we praised God for the vision of his kingdom that we read about in Revelation – that people will come from all over the earth, bringing with them their culture, their traditions, their experiences, and be united before the throne of God. It’s a beautiful image of unity in the Spirit which enabled us to celebrate our diversity and see God’s image reflected in one another.
We were treated to wonderful music from within our church family and from our special guest, Gospel singer, Muyiwa. He and his family commented on how much they enjoyed their day at Woking URC and the warm welcome they received. The international lunch was something to behold! Thank you to everyone who brought something to share and to Sue and her team for getting it all ready for us. There was most certainly something for everyone, with around 100 of us sharing in the feast!
What a blessing it has been!