Community Barbecue Bristol Central Church

4th September 2018

Against the backdrop of sweltering heat and glorious sunshine the Bristol Central Youth and Social Committees cleaned and decorated the church's car park in preparation for a free community barbecue. This event was the brainchild of our local minister, Pastor Royston Smith, who believes in using social events to engage the community and to showcase the importance of the church and its role in the community as well as promoting the gospel to the St Pauls area where the church exists and beyond. With all the planning and preparation underway the event took place on Sunday 5 August 2018.

The barbecue was organised by Albert Gardiner (Youth leader) and Nadine Brown (Social leader) and was sponsored by the Bristol Joint Evangelistic Committee. Nadine and Albert have engaged the local church members in various social activities to enhance and encourage total member involvement in church outreach programmes as well as promote cohesion as a church community.

Two challenges confronted the group on the day of the barbecue: a disgruntled neighbour and the disappearing gazebo. Initially, they both frustrated the team. However, after regaining composure a gazebo was loaned to the church even as the pastor engaged the neighbour in a discussion to address her concerns. After much dialogue it was discovered that our neighbour (Michelle) lived beside the church for over forty years. Unfortunately, she has never attended church but considers herself spiritual. She shared that she can hear every sermon and song, however her issue was not with the worship service or the BBQ but the noise that these appear to generate. It was agreed that the church would try to minimise and control the sound whilst updating her on any special programmes so that she could plan her social activities.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the turnout. New relationships were formed and as a result a number of individuals volunteered to assist the church with activities. Domitra from Poland just happened to be walking past the church and was greeted and invited to the BBQ. During a conversation with her she disclosed that she played the violin and was willing to volunteer her time to teach others. She went onto volunteer for the 2-week Holiday Bible School, starting the next day where she has been actively supporting a team of volunteers working with 55 children. She has also been playing the violin each morning as well as teaching the children.

We praise God for the 70 individuals who attended the BBQ, all found it an enjoyable experience and are really looking forward to the next activity. One indigenous individual commended the church for being relevant and looking to serve the needs of the local community, especially through the provision of food.

[Albert Gardiner]

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