Thankful for thanksgiving

Today was Brickhill's 'Thanksgiving Sunday', and it was absolutely wonderful! Here's a summary of what happened:

We were reminded of our past
By reading Psalm 136 together and recalling the history of Brickhill Baptist Church, we found much to be grateful for.

We said 'Thank you' to a retiring elder
Chris Hall (right) has been an elder at Brickhill for over 25 years but has decided that now is the time to set down this great responsibility. He spoke movingly about what he's loved, and honestly about what he has found tough. Chris's wife, also called Chris, died two years ago and he has been an incredible example to all of us of faithfully trusting God in the midst of agony. Chris said he believed young men needed to come through as elders, I replied that we couldn't do it without the experience, encouragement, and example of men like Chris.

We wrote thank you cards to God
I know that sounds trite but it was great to take a moment and express in writing our gratitude. We then brought our cards forward and piled them up - a great visual demonstration of the 100's of lives He has blessed.

We heard different expressions of gratitude
The Fagbenro family sang their thanks to God in English and their native Yoruba, the Avallaneda told of how they had arrived in England from Lima, Peru, and found a wonderful family at Brickhill, and Kim Gilmour told of how God has completely changed her life in the past year.

We ate in one another's homes with glad and sincere hearts
Inviting friends and strangers round to dinner was encouraged as part of the day: new friendships were made and old acquaintances renewed and enjoyed.

The leadership expressed their thanks and commitment to the church
It is a privilege to serve such wonderful people and we were delighted to thank them and express our commitment to them.

We declared our commitment to God and one another
As is the pattern in the Bible, we followed thankfulness with recommitment to God. We read together an abridged, pluralised version of the statement below and all signed our names on a massive sheet of paper.

We conga'd!
It's been a while since I had so much fun at a service! A burgeoning feeling of gratitude and elation was expressed in many ways by many people, including a load of us - young and old - dancing around the building.

I'm so happy with how today went, gratitude is such a precious gift from God. May we continue to be a thankful people; we will always have much to be thankful for.