Living for the Lord: Scrunching my paper into a tight ball, I took aim. Bullseye! Far down the classroom a girl squeaked in astonishment as the missile glanced off her shoulder.
Fast-forward sixty years and, d'you know, my aim is just as good! Only, this time, my paper ball whizzed down the nave in the Triangle and landed on a member of Sunday's (28th May) congregation.
But, it wasn't just me hurling paper balls. We all did, and for a couple of minutes pandemonium reigned!
Our visiting Minister for the service was the Revd John Squares, born and raised in Washington DC, but living in the UK for the past 16 years and a member of the Methodist Church North-West and Mann Learning Network, which has pioneered this month's Bible Study Initiative.
John enjoys having fun, but there was a serious point to our apparent vandalism, too. Each of us had been given a sheet of newspaper and invited to find a report describing sinful behaviour. He'd explained that one of the Church's biggest problems is our human habit of projecting our sins onto someone else.
He then divided the congregation down the middle and invited us to roll up our newspaper - our 'sin' - and throw it at the other side. Who won? Impossible to tell, but the Triangle looked a mess! "When God sent Jesus down" John told us, "he gathered up all our sins and brought them to the Cross".
Unconventional? Absolutely - from John's opening assertion that ''he can't get hold of the Resurrection until hot water passes through coffee grains'' to teaching us a beautiful Hebrew prayer, ''Rooo-aaagh!'' meaning ''breath'' which relaxes the shoulders and ''allows you to take in that God is all around us''. But if he made us smile he also made us think, and there was plenty to ponder in this final service of our May Bible study.
''James is trying to shock us into a relationship with God'', John said, with the stern messages of the three readings we heard - James 4:13 & 5:4-6 (Warning to Rich Oppressors), James 5:7-12 (Patience in Suffering) and James 5:13-20 (The Prayer of Faith).
''So, who is James talking to today?'', John asked, ''how does his positive message 'marry-up' with what happened in Manchester this week (the Arena bombing). In the wake of tragedy we must not lose sight of the good that has come out of disaster! We have got to pray for answers, and the right way to pray is to have a conversation with God - just like you would with your family''. On behalf of The Learning Network, he thanked the Triangle congregation for taking part in this month-long Bible Study Initiative.
The hymns? - 'In Christ Alone' (351); (706) 'Longing for Light'; (611) 'Brother, Sister, let me serve you'; 'Amazing grace'(440) and (489) 'All I once held dear (Knowing You, Jesus)'.
Controversial, thought-provoking, mysterious, inspiring - The Letter of James has been a great choice.
Kindly written by Astley Jones