I’ve really left it far too long to give a good accounting of the bank holiday. I made no notes (more fool me) and having left it this long what I can remember is getting fuzzy. Nevertheless, I’ll put down what I can remember.
The weather was pretty typical for a bank holiday when I’m going to be outside – rain and sun combined. We were spared the hail and thunderstorms that I have previously experiences, but it wasn’t particularly warm or settled in the way I would have liked.
My strongest memory of the weekend is of meeting with friends. Some of the people I saw I haven’t seen in months, so these times are pretty special like that; bringing together people from all over the country and cementing friendships. One thing that made me a little sad was the knowledge that while I had missed one bank holiday weekend with these special people, this particular weekend was the only one my parents had been able to attend with the ill-health and subsequent passing away of my grandparents. I was glad they were there but a little sad at the reason for their missing two previous ones.
Once again, the prayer and worship and ministry was particularly moving. Due to a lack of notes I can’t actually tell you what was talked about, but I do recall it being right. Time and again something I’d been concerned about was addressed and discussed.
One truly amazing thing I noted was this: I’d arrived at the tent not being too sure what was coming and privately concluding that the experience I’d had at RAW couldn’t possibly be repeated – except that it was, and a small voice in my head was saying “not replicated? I was there and I am here, it’s the same Spirit, simply a greater range of ages” That told me!
23 hours of meetings and hours spent with people is exhausting, no matter how lovely those people are. Each night I got home and fell through my front door and into bed, knowing that I had to get what sleep I could since tomorrow would be just as tiring.
On Sunday I was received into membership once again. It was a little surprising since I only had literally a few seconds’ warning that it would be happening. More than one of my friends was baptised, which was great. Sometimes a friend getting their heart’s desire is a wonderful thing to watch.
It’s more than a year since Noel passed away, but the church isn’t losing it’s way. It’s not a monument to Noel Stanton, its a group of people who love and worship God and fellowship together. I love that. I miss Noel, no doubt about it; but I love that the focus is still God and not the man who led us for so many years.