"Feels like something good's coming my way..." The Triangle was bursting at the seams again as we prepared for the special service of membership for our precious youngsters Nicole Kugler, Catriona Gorton and Tobias Read.
Pianist Mark Guenault played keyboards as we arrived and the video rap set the mood for an energetic and packed morning of worship, confirmation and communion.
Rev Hilary welcomed the families and friends of the young people and opened the service with the first of several contemporary hymns chosen by them and accompanied by the Praise Band. 'Bless the Lord of my Soul' was followed by Nicole's choice 'Be Still in the Presence of the Lord'. Rev Hilary prayed with each of the young people as they came forward to give their testimony; Nicole articulated how the hymn's melody and words helped her to know that "God is always there for me", that membership is a statement about belonging to The Triangle and, with simple certainty, that "God loves me".
Ben Latham with Tobias Read and Eddie Scowcroft led effective prayers of praise, thanksgiving and forgiveness. Catriona and Ben returned to the lectern to present a vivid and at times emotional account of their experience of 'Soul Survivor', a dynamic Christian event for young people across the UK who are seeking to deepen their faith and know more about Jesus. A video diary gave us a colourful insight into the activities of the 4,999 youngsters who attended, but Ben and Catriona made it a personal reflection on their shared experiences - Ben talked about the "spot-on organisation", the outstanding guest speakers and most movingly about the "wave of the Holy Spirit coming through me" during a profound act of worship and healing. For Catriona the fact that "God looks at the little things" was evident in other striking examples she gave of healing at the same time.
Sally Kenyon and Ben introduced the next hymn 'This I believe .. our Father everlasting' before Rev Hilary formally received Nicole, Catriona and Tobias into membership. Welcomed as members of the Methodist Church and "the church in this place", she laid a gentle hand of confirmation and blessing on each one as they made their promises in front of their church family, to which they responded "with God's help we will", echoed resoundingly by the congregation.
Tobias came forward and gave his testimony describing how his chosen hymn 'Shine Jesus Shine' helps him to feel closer to God and that membership means being part of the church family. Joanne Read brought us the reading from 1 Corinthians 11:23-35 about the Last Supper to lead us into Rev Hilary's 'Talk Bit' all about remembering never to forget how much God loves us. "What do we forget?" she asked, prompting familiar responses: keys, glasses, homework... and, "What do we do to help us remember?" - making lists, keeping a diary (or four in Hilary's case!), knots in string and hankies, post-it notes and photo boards, sharing memories and stories. And for Catriona, Tobias and Nicole their testimonies of faith today - too important to forget. Jesus said "Remember me" that we recall as we share the bread and wine - the act of Holy Communion bringing us ever closer to Jesus.
Brian Smith and Elizabeth Kugler led our Prayers for others, for our world and its suffering and for our personal concerns - "Out of your love and care for us all - Gracious God, hear us".
Catriona's chosen hymn 'God's Spirit is in my Heart' reminds her of the Christian membership across the world - her eloquent testimony describing how being a Christian is all about "trusting in God, in knowing him and getting as close to God" as she can.
The service ended with the hymn 'Happy Day (the greatest day in history)' and a final blessing.
Kindly provided by Steph Shipley (Pastoral Leader)