Jean Kerr Article 1

The Unexpected: Local Café

It was a spur of the moment visit to a local independent coffee shop during the 11-day period of Thy Kingdom Come. Nothing too unusual about that. As I waited for the coffee to be delivered to the table, I could hear a woman’s voice reading to a small child. The next thing I knew is the child, of around three years of age, appears and makes their way towards the counter. His little fist was clenched, as if holding something very precious. Suddenly that hand was opened, and its contents spilled onto the floor. The child scrambled to retrieve it.

“What’s that?“ asked the owner. Proudly the boy announced “it’s my bracelet, it’s special, it’s for when we pray. I made it at church.” “Well which church is that?” asked the lady “It’s Reverend David’s church, “ he said. The whole of the café listened to a tiny child who began to speak about his church with such ease.

This was unexpected in so many ways and just one church’s involvement in Thy Kingdom Come, reaching far more people than they could ever have anticipated.

The diarised: Churches Together in Camborne

After weeks of planning, My husband and I set off from Deal in Kent to Camborne Cornwall. Being three weeks post a hip replacement it would’ve been so easy to have cancelled but we persevered and so glad we did, as we were blown away by what happened in Camborne. Still struggling from the closure of the Tin mines, Camborne is not the idyllic Cornish postcard scene. However its people are welcoming, desiring the things of God and the good of their much loved communities. Despite the challenges, churches in Camborne seriously and joyfully joined together for the whole of the period of Thy Kingdom Come 2023.

Every day saw an expression of prayer being held in each of the many denominations from Labyrinth making, to evening prayer, to creative prayer stations and ecumenical prayer meetings. Both the events on the Saturday and Sunday of the Pentecost weekend saw the ministers of all denominations including those from the church for the death standing together, being prayed for and praying for each other.

Rarely, in the very many years of ministry in the British Isles and across the globe have I seen such visible unity, such a commitment to do things together and yet retain the potential calling that God is given each other congregations. At both events, despite my obvious incapacity, I found people seriously attentive to the message and always able to engage in the beautifully led worship, by an ecumenical worship group. I found the numbers of people eager to respond to what God was saying and doing what were exceptional in number and in quality. Praying had never felt so easy, so exciting, so normal.

And the fact that I did not know who Pentecostal was, who was Methodist or Roman catholic or Anglican or Community church or Salvation army made all the difference. We were one body United. As the evening came to an end, I had the humbling privilege of blessing the leaders of the deaf church. With my limited signing it was still enough to convey to them that Jesus was Lord and was spreading his love over them.

So many unexpected experiences from the God who delights in surprising us with his presence in unexpected places.

Revd Canon Jean Kerr Speaking