Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Street Party - Whitley Style

Saturday 2nd of June seems like ages ago now but it was a day to remember for ever for the residents of Whitley and Whitley Wood who were involved in the largest street party in Reading.  Approximately 5000 people turned up to what was an amazing event. The video below was taken by GetReading, the local newspaper (there's also one on Meridian website but can't embed it!) and the guy speaking is Vernon Orr who is the local Anglican church vicar.  He has an incredible heart for the community in South Reading and has become some what of a figure head for the churches in the area with the council.

Although a great joint effort between the churches, I must put out a massive thank you to all at Reading Family Church who got involved, whether making or buying cakes, serving in the afternoon or taking days off on the Friday to be available to lug tables and chairs from all manner of places.  It is hard to see how well the event could have been done without the dedicated, tireless serving of you guys.  

There was also an amazing team behind the scenes with some significant roles going to RFCers.  Tim Rooke masterminded the whole thing with his unique brand of diligence and unwavering commitment to the spreadsheet.  Chris Poston somehow managed to convince bouncy castle companies that their precious commodities would be fine on road surfaces and then headed the team for activities.  Alison Grieg ably supported everything with her administrative prowess, contacting the media and the dignitaries as well as making sure budgets were adhered to and money to cover those budgets was acquired.  Then we have Peter Harley who managed the site which involved the road closures, set up and of course the stewarding of the event.  This was an epic six months for each of them and each should be commended.

As for the day itself - every prayer was answered and more.  The weather was perfect, there was no trouble, the local community joined the church community in set up and pack down.  there was an atmosphere of love and respect over the place with old rubbing shoulders with young, neighbours reconnecting, old school friends bumping into each other.  Sir John Madjeski made his appearance and then stayed for the best part of the afternoon, despite the fact I made him an awful cup of tea!  The local MP's Alok Sharma and Rob Wilson, Readings Mayor and the towns press were out in force and BBC Radio Berkshire had a live reporter right from 8:30am when we started set up through to 6pm after she had helped pack some things away.  Even I went out live on the radio!

In all this was a day of community, a day of serving, a day of connecting, a day to remember and a day to savour.  Whatever anyone says about Whitley the prayer that has gone in to that place is working and the church is respected and supported in a way none of us can really understand.  God is good and he is working in the lives of many who attended that day.  It's great top be a church that meets in that community and has links in with it.

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