Monday, 10 July 2017
On Friday I travelled to Southport to take part in the ‘FIRE FEST' weekend. I had been invited by one of the trustees of ‘Summer Fire’ Revd Rob Cotton, which is the new name for the ‘Southport Holiness convention' which began in Southport in 1885. Now the conference travels all around the country and local churches host Fire Fest events. Some reading this may remember the tent on Mornington Road where the event was held for many years, but now the hosts are Leyland Rd Methodist church which stands on the corner of Manchester Road and Leyland Rd with its grand steeple, wonderful worship area and suite of rooms.
Friday night started with a celebration when Rob Cotton preached on ’Movement or Monument’ and encouraged is to think about if we are dying or being raised to new life which very much chimed with my thoughts in my presidential address. Saturday morning was my first opportunity to unpack Acts 2: 42-47 which was the biblical stream running through the weekend. This was followed by a seminar when we looked at what we do well in our churches, what we wished we could do better and what are the key factors for growing churches and of course the key question for us all how can we do better at sharing our faith so that we can make new disciples.
We were ably led over the weekend by the local team working away in the back ground and upfront by Revs Sally Ratcliffe and Phil Gough and a very accomplished worship band made up of Leyland Rd folk and Phil Nankivell.
Saturday was also the anniversary for many of our presbyters who were received not full connexion at the Southport conference and were ordained 10 years ago and so it was for Revd Sally Ratcliffe who had been ordained at Leyland Rd and I was her assisting minister we took a photograph in the same positions as 10 years ago, special memories.
I preached on Saturday night at a celebration and again on Sunday morning and also shared in a family event when the whole of the worship was based around our five a day spiritual practices which gave me lots of ideas for the coming year. I had so many positive conversations it was a real blessing.
After we left Andrew Roberts was leading another seminar on his book ‘Holy Habits’, based on Acts 2:42-27 which was eagerly anticipated and the weekend was concluding with a evening celebration.
‘SummerFire’ was once described as 'Methodism's best kept secret as holiness is part of our DNA' and this weekend bore that out, so why not give it a try next year and watch out for FireFest events around the country.