On Saturday, Portswood Church opened its doors for our first “Celebrate” community day. The atmosphere around the church really captured the theme  of the event as people were welcomed in to the sound of our brilliant live band, the smells of the free BBQ and the sight of dozens of colourful ‘thank you’ ribbons streaming in the sunny breeze. This was more than a fun day, an opportunity  to show our appreciation for all that’s good in the Portswood Community and demonstrate God’s blessing in many ways to those who live and work in the area.

Visitors to Celebrate were encouraged to think about the things and people they were thankful for and to express this by writing a card, taking a flower or decorating a biscuit to give to someone. 

At the church, activities ran for all ages, with the ever popular bouncy castle, face painting, crafts and return of the human fruit machine! As well as being great fun for the kids who came, it was good for members of the church to have that opportunity to invite friends, build on relationships  from previous church events and connect with familiar faces from the community. 

There was a sense of Celebrate going beyond the four walls of the church building. Some team members went onto the high street  giving out bottles of water, others were doing free car washing and the “Portswood Prayer Team” were out and about offering prayer in the shops and businesses close to the church. This was generally really well received and it was great to see local staff popping in to the community day and to hear positive feedback on what the church is doing.

It was also more than just the event itself – one idea a team member had was to go round to some of the nearby care homes and charities during the week to give out boxes of chocolates and cards to say thank you to the many people out there who give so much, often behind the scenes.  A simple act of appreciation, but it meant a lot to those people!

One of the things I enjoy most at community days is the way it unites us as a church family serving God together, with everyone of all different ages using their gifts and abilities to make the day happen – from the creativity and organisation of the planning team to dozens of keen bakers making cakes for the cafe to people chatting to visitors and running the different activities on the day. 

Hopefully Celebrate was  a taste of what we can continue to do to bless the Portswood Community in the future, especially as the building work nears completion – and let’s keep praying that we can always be ready to share the message that motivates us and gives us so many reasons to celebrate :-)

Jo Le Prevost