Today Paul and Marian went as a combination to the United Reformed Church in Weoley Hill’s conference and had the privilege of taking the largest service in their classic former Presbyterian building.
Somehow in my notes I had accidentally written Ecclesiastes 4:11 instead of Ecclesiastes 11:4, which transformed my visionary key-note speech from ‘Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap’ to ‘if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?’ This is the sort of mix up people joke about, but to my horror I actually did it. Fortunately nothing gives you more favour in Great Britain than making a twit of yourself so the rest of the day was a treat. Marian sang. With no gaffs at all, of course!
After that we helped both the pastor and folks work through this very important day. It was their conference goals to become a Welcoming Church, which in our view they clearly are already, as well as letting the whole of Weoley Hill know they are Now Open Sundays!, the very title of my book, hence our invitation.
Everyone makes you welcome in Weoley Hill, it is not someone’s job to do that, it is simply what they like to do and do well.The Rev and Mrs Kalu, who are from Nigeria, really know The Lord and bring a wonderful anointing with them. This very warm and welcoming congregation alongside this anointed couple were as true blessing to us. They even made me Scotch Broth for my lunch! One lady member is ninety-nine years old and was waving her stick around while telling me a very funny story. She is as sharp as a tack, still has her own teeth, doesn’t wear glasses and has no hearing aid either. Amazing.
The Rev Kalu and I were there from about 9.30am right through to 4.30pm, but for one afternoon seminar we had a welcome break when joined by Reverend Stuart Blount, an important executive of the national leadership team of the Elim Pentecostal Church. Not being there earlier he innocently made reference to people who can’t tell what is a verse number and what is a chapter number, much to the amusement of the congregation who happily interrupted him to point out they had a speaker this morning who did just that! What a fun bunch these Weoley Hill folk are, tremendous.
After a powerful time remembering The Lord with communion it was time to say good-bye, but by the time Marian and I finished we didn’t want to leave! What a wonderful bunch of people. What a privilege to serve.
Weoley Hill United Reformed Church
A congregation the people of Weoley Hill can be proud of!