We have finally sat down with a cup of tea to reflect back on a wonderful weekend. I tried to describe it in Church this morning as one which was busy and happy, just as I expected, but one which was also deeply rich emotionally and spiritually (which I had not expected).
Today, 2nd March 2014, is 50 years to the day since the Rt Revd Oliver Tomkins consecrated the current St Chad's Church building on Rodway Road in Patchway. There had been a building there previously, as some of the lovely old photos we had collected showed, and a Church in Patchway prior to that further up the A38. We were thrilled to have the Rt Revd George Cassidy with us this morning and what he said to us is available to listen to here.
I tried to sum up how I felt during the service, but did a "rewind" over the weekend.
Saturday evening had been a fabulous "Concert" with some old Patchway lags playing and singing - but the main thrust of the evening had been the welcoming back of many old friends and having time and space to talk. Some of the current crop of Patchway young people did well too, the STOMP Dance Group and a lovely song sung by Chantelle.
There was a lot of talking and mingling and laughter and we finished with some worship - all joining in as we sang "To God be the glory" together.
The evening had taken a lot of organising, even down to the last minute, but it has to go down as one of those simple pleasures that are such a treat.
Saturday tea-time had been a frantic "Cream Tea" fest. I have no idea how many teas and scones were delivered to the tables, and this was our peak time for old friends to be with us - previous Ministers of a variety of types. I knew very few of them, but there were lots of laughs and memories.
Saturday morning had been a really important time prayer walking around parts of the Parish. We had selected four areas to walk and we had a fifth group who stayed in Church but prayer walked with texts and photos. We highlighted our routes on maps, so we know where we've been and we felt quite strongly that this is something we need to do regularly.
The weekend had begun on the Friday with our Area Dean getting us thinking about Values and Vision - and he did it really well. We have pages of notes and flip-chart materials on top of +George's talk to come back to and mull over.
I loved the process of noting down what it was that we valued about St Chad's, and building a description of our values from that. I think we made some great progress, and we have some good stuff for an agenda for an Away Day, perhaps.
The final moment of the weekend was the cutting of our 50th Cake. Cyril performed the honours - one of the original worshippers in St Chad's and still with us every week.