July 2011

The Fun Day

It was way, way back in the dim dark pages of ancient history that in the Year of Our Lord 2005 the very first Family Fun Day was hosted by the churches of Rayleigh in King George's Playing Fields....

For those of us involved in these events it is both an exhausting but a very satisfying day. From setting up marquees and gazeboes at 7am to the final rubbish sweep sometime after 6pm, the feeling is of the privilege to serve the community mixed with a satisfied tiredness of a good job done. There has always been a 'buzz' at such days, even the Saturdays when the weather hasn't helped, one year we were almost blown away!

It is good to work together with over 200 Christians from the various churches of Rayleigh. The Fun Day is the most visible example of the inherent unity we have in Christ. Everyone mucks in and helps. You may not know which church a fellow worker comes from but you help each other provide the kind of free family entertainment that is just distant memory for most people, and unknown outside the Fun Day for many of the young.

The Family Fun Day is one of the few community events that bring together the people of Rayleigh. Both the Rayleigh Town, and the Rochford District Councils are supportive of the event as they recognise the community identity it engenders in our rather fragmented society. It allows friends and neighbours to gather in a stress free and cost free environment. It’s hard to calculate but probably over 3000 attended last years event, not far off 1 in 10 of the population of Rayleigh.

It is also good publicity for the churches of Rayleigh. A day that attempts to break down some of the misconceptions that many people have of the church. It’s deliberately not ‘in your face’ but low key, people don’t get preached at. Also it is fun, with family friendly amusements, that hopefully counteracts the dour reputation of some Christians. It is free to the community, apart from very inexpensive refreshments, that counteracts the impression that churches are always after your money.

All in all, the five Family Fun Days in the last six years (ie we missed 2007 as there was no organiser/ committee available) have been a great and growing success on many fronts. There is no reason to expect the 2011 occasion to be any different. The hard work over many months of the committee, the support of many people in prayer and on the day is amply compensated. And, more importantly, our God is honoured and promoted. It's evangelism in the true sense. A serving and sharing that enables and allows people to begin to look at the church and God in a positive light, perhaps for the first time. The URC Year of Evangelism reminds us that we have been part of the sharing of the Good News of Jesus in this specific event.

Please continue to support the 2011 event on the 16th July in prayer and in person. Together and with God’s grace we can continue to plant the seeds of Good News, that in God’s good time will grow and be gathered in.

July 2011