The morning meeting was the responsibility of the Band and was by Chris Boughton, Asst Band Sergeant,
with the theme ‘A safe place’ which, he said, could be both physical and spiritual. The opening song was ‘Lord, I lift your name on high’ and was followed by the band’s playing of ‘Teach me’ which was an excellent beginning to a time of prayer led by Bev Hudson who prayed that ‘God would intervene is all of our lives’. The Singing Company sang ‘There is none like you’ with soloist Bethany Boughton. Chris enlisted the help of three young people, Katelyn, Beckie and Isaac to illustrate measurement of different types but also pointed out that we cannot measure God’s love: Psalm 23 ‘my cup runneth over’, Psalm 103 ‘God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting’. Eph. 3:18-19 ‘the vastness of God’s love’.
Any Smith read John 3:14-21 before the SA Song 185 ‘My Lord, what love is this’ was sung by the congregation. The Songsters ministry was ‘God loves you and made you for the pleasure of knowing you’ before Rosemary Steadman-Allen read Psalm 91. The band then played ‘In God’s Presence’ incorporating ‘Bow the knee’ and ‘All there is of me’.
In his message, Chris expanded on his theme about God’s love and our safe place. He reminded us of the fact that there is no variation in God’s love, no limits, it ensures and never fails, He is our refuge. He comforts us with his word and works through Christian friends. We cannot replicate the creation and majesty of God but by His example in the story of the prodigal son we learn of the love of a father. It is also necessary for us to show up if we are going to be restored. We are imperfect but God is not. God restores us. He will hear us and be with us in times of trouble. For all of us the message is that it’s time to stop running away and time to go home to the safe place in Jesus.
A time for reflection was encouraged whilst singing SA Song 32 ‘How deep the Father’s love’ and the meeting finished with SA Song 378 ‘Faithful God’.
Rex Boughton gave a closing prayer and benediction.
It had been planned to have lunch together at the Hall and then go out to have ‘Church in the High Street’ but the very wet inclement weather prevented this so a Praise meeting was held indoors. Gina Castle and her helpers provided lunch and there was a good time of sharing: and eating.
The afternoon praise meeting commenced with a prayer by Greg Davis and then Major Ian F. Payne took over leadership of the afternoon. The band commenced with a march which included Onward Christian Soldiers and then the congregation sang ‘How great Thou art’. Major Ian spoke about how we need to cultivate relationships with our neighbours and with the community around us. The Songsters sang ‘Swing down’ which was well received. The congregational song ‘Guide me, O thou great Jehovah’ had verses interspersed with testimonies from Tracy and Sue. Charlie Gouyet led the Young People’s Band in their item ‘They need Christ’. The song ‘Make me a channel of your peace’ was a thoughtful time reflecting on the world around us. The Singing Company sang ‘This day we have Jesus’ and the Songsters ‘I’m in His Hands’ which were good reminders of the presence of Christ in our lives and being safe in His hands. The meeting closed with the singing of ‘Shine, Jesus, shine’
before Major Judith Payne brought the final prayer and benediction.
Thank you Jean Jones for the report and Lauren Officer for the Photographs