BCTL in Isle of Wight - October 2018
We were privileged to be part of the BCTL team invited by St Paul’s church in Newport on the beautiful Isle of Wight.
The word “exhibition” seems such a dry expression! Going from one exhibit to another and perhaps leaving no more enlightened than before going in!
Not so with BCTL! Everyone who came in was given a Rolls Royce welcome and treated to interactive displays, talks and even a ‘pantomime style’ play! Some of the children and adults took up the invitation to dress in biblical costume, one of whom wore our fantastic centurions outfit, looking uncannily like Russell Crowe, throughout the Sunday service!
We hosted five primary school age groups who very quickly warmed to the lovely relaxing and colourful ambiance of the church.
The children got to try out the Shofars, prayer shawls, yarmulkas and teffilin; were awed at the wonderful temple model and fascinated by the Scrolls at the ‘Divine Language’ station and enjoyed the novelty of having their biscuits and juice in the Bedouin tent. One school commented that they’re excited to write a report of their schools visit as it would look impressive when Ofsted come to inspect!
On leaving, one little boy waved at Graham and shouted ‘bye bye Jesus’!
Another little boy remarked ‘Oh I want to stay here in this church FOREVER!!’
Another said, “Wow cooool! I thought we were coming to just an ordinary church!’ A little girl asked us ‘where is Jesus now?’ Two other girls loved that the Challah bread was plaited exactly like their hair!
We believe that the exhibition was a huge success in terms of outreach and making St Paul’s known in the local community. People who would never normally step inside the church visited because of their interest in the artefacts. One person told us he had lived next door for 73 years and was here for the very first time!
The most profound experience for us was on Friday night when we opened the doors to the Youth Cafe which meets at the hall across the road. These are unchurched and, in some cases troubled youth but three came in looking rather guarded at first but as we ‘personalised’ the talks, focusing them all around Jesus, (knowing some had just started the Alpha course) we sensed that the Lord was speaking to each one in a very personal way.
They each took a ‘Words of Life Card’ from the Divine Language station and it was clear by the expression on their faces that the Lord did indeed speak words of life to them. It was reported back to us by the youth leader that one of them had texted him to say he’d gone home to read his bible seriously!
We had great fun distributing the fliers in the town centre in full biblical costume! ‘Joseph’, in his coat of many colours even stopped the traffic when he put forth his staff to command the traffic lights to turn red!
In the weeks before our arrival, members of the congregation had delivered many 100’s of fliers and had prayed very much for God to send those He wanted to be there. God answered those prayers beautifully - as always! The exhibition was a real blessing to us all and exceeded the expectations of the church leaders and the BCTL team. Over a four day period we welcomed around 500 people into the church - it’s not often you get that opportunity - the potential for building relationships is huge and not to be missed!
We were thrilled to be a part of what the Lord wants to do on this beautiful island and trust Him to fulfil what those plans are.