They say God works in mysterious ways and this weekend’s wild and unpredictable weather had people at Normanton gala heading for shelter ….to the Normanton All Saints’ Church tent …..and staying.
The annual town gala in Normanton, Wakefield over the weekend is a big event in the town’s calendar with a roads closed off and a fun fair for four days.
All Saints’ Church likes to have a presence there - pictured left as they set up for the weekend - and this year had its own marquee offering prayer, refreshments, cakes, craft activities for young and old, a knit and natter corner, a large games area and an open air church service planned for the Sunday.
They were raising funds for the Well Project – a community centred charity supported by the church which runs youth activities and a food and clothing bank.
And as the weather changed, the marquee proved a blessing for the gala goers as All Saints curate, the Revd Phil Maries explained:
“ We had a steady flow of people through the church tent engaging with the activities that were on offer. In a way the sudden heavy showers helped us because the church tent was the only real space that people could shelter in, and the free tea, coffee and cake was a big draw.
'The downpours may not have lasted long, but each time they came, the church tent filled up with new people and it was a great opportunity to engage with people we might not always reach.
“I think if the weather had been better then we may not have had as much passing trade,” he said.
The prayer area was well used with many of the younger children doing bubble prayers. Many of the prayers reflected the people’s concerns about Hurricane Irma and many of the children’s prayers were about the new school year.
Phil helped advertise the Well Project’s own stall by agreeing to have glitter highlights in his beard!
The organiser of the Gala took the decision to cancel the Sunday programme as the main arena was too wet and would have been unsafe for the dance troops to perform. But All Saints still held the church service in the park and it was well attended drawing in many people from the car boot sale that day - the lure of free tea, coffee and cakes helped draw them in.
Said Phil: “The Gala weekend was a good opportunity to witness to the people of Normanton on many levels.
“It’s not often you get offered something for free and that’s what Normanton All Saints did at the Gala – it showed we are a church that gives freely
“We helped out a stallholder whose power generator broke part way through Saturday, and the church became a place to shelter in, even if it was only from the rain, we showed people that we are a welcoming church, ‘ he added.
Big thanks to everyone who contributed - visitor, or member of church or community who helped -- it raised over £1,000 for the Well Project.
Some of the team from the congregation.