Many churches in Royal Leamington Spa closed for their usual morning services so that congregations from different denominations could join together in a huge service of worship for Pentecost.
Unlike the torrential rain last year when the service had to be relocated in All Saints’ Church, the sun shone brilliantly as about 1,200 people gathered around the bandstand in the Pump Room Gardens to worship God. Clad in their summer clothes and wearing sun hats or sheltering under umbrellas to give shade from the hot sun, people sat on rugs or garden chairs to enjoy the morning.
Jonathan Jee of St. Paul’s Church welcomed the crowd and songs with choruses were sung with gusto.
Gary Matthews gave a testimony about how he had had a difficult childhood, how he had mis-used drink and drugs and been in prison but that Jesus had made a huge difference to his life. He now wants to help others to overcome any problems which they are experiencing.
Children from St Margaret’s School in Whitnash led the congregation in action songs and Andy Castle introduced Thrive Youth Ministries which he is organising in the Leamington area.
Anthony Orr, from Leamington Baptist Church, gave the address which was suitable to all age groups. With large pictures of the main characters he captured everyone’s attention by describing how Popeye’s life was transformed by his eating spinach. He likened that to how our lives can be transformed by our acceptance of Jesus.
The collection was divided between the work of Thrive Youth Ministries and Leamington Christian Mission.
At the close of the service many people stayed to enjoy the picnics they had brought from home and to talk with other Christians from different churches.
Local interchurch ministries also exhibited at Praise in the Park. These included Nightlight which operates on the forecourt of All Saints Church on Fridays and Saturdays and which gives help and advice to late-night revellers; Taize Prayer Group which meets monthly at St Peter’s Church and Night Shelter which meets on our premises at Radford Road and offers food and shelter on two nights every week to the homeless and the vulnerable.