There have been many famous catchphrases, I wonder how you will get on with some of these.
‘I don’t believe it!’… ‘Shut that door’ … ‘Nice to see you, to see you … nice’ … ‘Ooh you are awful but I like you … ‘Lovely jubbly’ ‘Listen very carefully I will say this only once!’ and probably my favourite of all … ‘It’s good night from me’ … and … ‘It’s good night from him.’
How did you get on? Well for Sue and me the last catchphrase is quite apt as I am writing this and we prepare to leave Lisvane. It has been such a happy time for us as a family, the last 14 years have flown by and it has been a pleasure getting to know so many people in the village and in the North Cardiff area. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement … talking about encouragement I still remember the first words someone said to me as we arrived … ‘Good luck! You are going to need it with that lot!’ That filled me with a lot of confidence I can tell you.
Well ‘that lot’ turned out to be a great bunch of people who welcomed us with open arms. It is a wonderful thing when as a minister you are confident of the people you serve, and I have said on numerous occasions it has been great to be part of the sense of joy, togetherness and warmth at LBC.
There have been many highlights over the years. We still baptise people outside and have used pop up pools in various gardens as well as swimming pools in a member’s back garden. I particularly remember one on Easter Sunday when it started snowing … I think it took a week for everyone to thaw out! There have been many meals together (our unofficial catchphrase is … no meeting without eating!) and I remember one lady say to me after our first year … ‘We are so glad you are here but I have put on over a stone since you joined us!’ Many of the meals have accompanied an Alpha course (an introduction to who Jesus is and what he teaches) and it has been wonderful to see so many people discover for the first time a faith in the God who created them and gave Jesus to redeem them.
Our children’s department has been another joy. Children are at the very heart of all we do and are as a church. Fun Factory at Lisvane Primary is in its 14th year and is going strong and our Disney Days are always well received. Our recent half term Holiday Bible Club on the field was a great success but it was the success it was because we worked in partnership with our friends at St Denys Church. The Big Tent event has been a wonderful way for Sue and me to end our time here. Seeing people working in partnership was a blast! Lots of people from St Denys, a great team from Bear Valley Community Church, Texas, Mission Links Wales who helped coordinate everything, Andy Goode and Show Jesus who resourced the marquee (and much more!) and Chris and Jake Williams who went above and beyond to ensure the tech and lighting worked. I loved it! Partnership goes to the heart of the Christian message. Listen to the words of Jesus shortly before His crucifixion.
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.’
What a great prayer! As we begin a New Year let us commit ourselves to living like this.
As I turn my thoughts to packing another catch phrase comes to mind … ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring!’
All the best