Sunday started really early. I haven’t camped out since August last year and I’m not very used to tuning out loud birdsong at 5am. I did get back to sleep eventually, but when I finally got up at 8am I was still pretty tired and wishing for a bit more sleep!
As is tradition, breakfast was fried eggs, sausages and beans with optional toast and tea on the side. Cooked by the men of the house I might add. We sang to one of the visiting girls as it was her birthday, which was good. Sometimes when it’s a big weekend, birthdays can get buried in all the coming and going, listening and singing, eating and sleeping.
Tent and sleeping bag aired and set tidy, off to the marquee. Once again, it was very warm inside the tent, even with the sides tied up to allow good air flow through.
There was a longer tribute to Noel today. I won’t go into it, but it was very much summing up the man that many people would not have seen behind the shirt and tie and Bible they saw on Sunday, or on Saturday night at the marquee in some park or other. Sam, Ian and Danny managed once again to show us a man who very few people have seen or even realise existed!
It was a changed format to what most people would expect on a Sunday, Mick bought forward the timing of the communion and Huw gave the main sermon. I know Noel was a man of great stamina, but I think that having several leaders take the different sections of the meeting is a good plan. No one leader gets too tired, and it’s visible to the entire church that it’s now being led by a team of men. True, there is one man as Senior Pastor; but the load is being shared now, as I think it might have been good to share it some time ago; although at that time the church might not have been ready for the change.
Lunch came at about 3pm as it usually does on a bank holiday weekend Sunday, and by the time it was eaten and served, the announcment came that the transport back to the tent would come at 4:30… it was 4pm already, and supper had to be prepared and left ready.
Mum and I sarted madly making supper for 60 – 3 kilos of pasta twists, 6 litres of sauce containing garlic, herbs, tuna, sweetcorn, peppers and more. We got it done, but 2 women working to make supper while 4 people are around the double sink washing dishes, and another 2 are in the pan room washing the saucepans and oven trays – stuff of nightmares! I was almost screaming by the time the dishes were done and the kitchen finally emptied of all but me and mum! Don’t get me wrong, there was enough room for everyone to do what they were doing, but the noise we were making with our cooking, all the talking, the noise from the washing up, helpful men coming in with clean pans to be put away, questions on where to find, and “where does this go” and “could I have…” and “would you have time to…” It really was difficult, to understate it just a little.
Sunday evening was incredible. We sang and we listened to Steve and then it was time for people to stand for prayer if they wanted a blessing or to recieve healing or anything else that might come to mind. Mum challenged me to ignore my thoughts and go forward and get prayer for whatever God wanted to give me, so I did. Heidi and a friend started to pray that I would get a blessing, and suddenly it changed to lifting a “mantle of sadness”. It was wonderful, even though it might not sound that way when I tell you I cried in the messiest way possible, but I felt as though a chunk of sadness had been removed and I felt lighter, and able to stand straighter afterward.
We were shown a selection of promotional films about upcoming events that various people might want to attend, and the finale of the night was singing the old hymn “For All The Saints”. We nearly took the roof off the tent! It’s such a lifting, triumphant hymn. My Dad was running one of the video cameras at the time, and he complained about being a bit deafened between the crowd going mad and the speaker just beside him! Still, it was good, because I’ve been wanting to sing that particular hymn since before Noel went home.
Back home soon after that for the pasta bake supper and into bed very shortly after, as Monday morning meant leaving for the marquee at 9:15am and I had a tent to pack ahead of that.
Did I mention that bank holiday weekends are tiring? 🙂