Roadshow Report – St John’s, Eden Park, Beckenham, 26 March, 2006

by Mike Burn on March 26, 2006

St John's Eden Park
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Someone said it must have been a man who decided Mothering Sunday should fall on the same day that the clocks went forward! We were up bright and early for a sound check at St John’s, a large, thriving Anglican church, on the outskirts of south London. The band featured Sophie, Bethan and Josh (making his roadshow debut) on vocals, David on electric guitar, and Neil on keys. Josie danced, and the children in the church were enthusiastic in following her lead.

Many churches struggle with how to “pitch” their all-age services – do you aim it at the younger children, and run the risk that the youth will be bored? Do you aim it at the youth and run the risk that older members may wonder what happened to the hymns? Our aim with the Roadshows has always been to make sure there is genuinely “something for everyone”. It was clear from the reaction from the church, and talking to people afterwards, that St John’s have alreay been doing a great job of pitching their services right, as evidenced by the numbers of children, youth, families and older people happy to fill the church and worship together.

For Mothering Sunday, we focussed on the theme of sacrifice, using a clip from Star Wars when Anakin’s mother lets him go (to become a Jedi Knight), and the (true!) story from 1 Samuel of how his mother gave her son up to serve God in the temple, in gratitude to God for the gift that Samuel was to her. (We acted the story out with members of the church, which we’ve done on a few different Roadshows over the years, but this was the first time the baby we picked out from the congregation turned out to be called Samuel in real life. He must be destined for great things!)

Bethan sang “Jesus, thank you for the cross” beautifully, which was a great reminder of the sacrifice that God made for each one of us in giving up his Son.

This church was a real treat to visit – the welcome was warm and friendly, and Sue and I discovered we knew more people there than we thought, including a friend we’d not seen in over 15 years. St John’s has a focus and emphasis on being “Church for Eden Park”, not just a church in Eden Park, and our prayer for the church, as they continue to grow and serve the local community, is that they would continue to be be salt and light in a needy world.

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