Thu 17th May : Day 8
As Day 8 dawns here in Manchester, we begin to sense that the end of the Journey is coming into sight. There are mixed feelings. We’re all tired and a little disorientated by now, but we’ve developed such strong bonds together, supporting each and ‘being’ in addition to ‘doing’ Community.
We gather at St George Church, Tyldesley and chat with others from the wider church team over tea before setting out on a short prayer walk in the local area.
There are issues to be addressed in any community, but such potential too. We sense a beating heart just below the surface of this locality, and we pray as we walk for the realisation of new hope. We pray that the churches would become stronger as they work together, reaching out in the strength of God’s love to all corners of Astley, Tyldesley and Mosley Common.
Soon we are on the road again, and on our way to Southport in the Diocese of Liverpool. We don’t know what to expect, but as we arrive we realise that we are at the seaside. It is somehow unexpected. The pent-up child in each of us is unleashed and we spend an hour just being, well a bit ‘silly’. What JOY, what laughter.
We’ve been told to go to Westminster Café for lunch. Sheila is in charge of our limited funds and orders her lunch… Wow!
Esther seems to be living out the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25 : 14-30), and we learn that investing in ‘two-penny shove machines’ isn’t a wise growth strategy. We console Esther and move on.
The biggest news is that we ALL get to enjoy ice-cream at the end of the pier, and we even manage a half decent selfie there (though we still miss PK!).
The evening turns out to be amazing. We join members of various church denominations for a meal out, and then are treated to a sensational ecumenical evening service at St John Stones Roman Catholic Church. The various churches meet together for prayer on a Tuesday, but this joint service has been inspired by our Journey. So many people have come, and the Salvation Army band and singers are here too. The service is filled with a heady mix of praise, worship, joy and fun. And of course, a demonstration of churches united and working together for one God. Amen to that…
The service is followed by cake and tea in the hall, and a chance for us to talk more about the Journey. Each day takes us by surprise, and this is no exception…