'Ain't God good' as the saying goes? Our Sing Christmas venue was full - and when four people left for various reasons another four arrived to take their place. Amazing.
The service was not quite as slick as last year, perhaps because Radio Leicester had had to change venue at the last minute and they had managed to provide different words for one of the carols to those they sang on air (interesting!). Despite this it went really well and people enjoyed it. Many came out to hang a bauble on the tree and everyone joined in with great gusto pulling crackers and party poppers; the room came alive when we lit our festive candles and it was great at the end to see people shaking hands with people they did not know.
So, around 50 people, I reckon, of whom about half were our own folk, 2 Methodists, 3 Anglicans, 3 Penties and 1 Roman Catholic. Of those with no known church connection, about half came from our Lunch Club and the rest had responded to leaflets or poster advertising.
I think the balance was right - it showed us that people will come to a service in a pub, but not in droves.
It was humbling to see people in their 80's find make their way through the rabbit warren of passages to find the steep staircase that led to the 'upper room' (!) where we were meeting.
Once again, at the end of the evening I was able to stand back and survey a room full of happy people supping tea and munching endless mince pies before they set off back into the night.
I spoke to one elderly gentleman who'd come in responce to one of my posters who said as he left 'that's done me a power of good.' It was lovely to see how he had been made welcome by two of our own oldies and how he wished everyone he passed a Happy Christmas on his way out. Who knows, maybe he was an angel in disguise?
I was proud of my little church who had allowed their crazy minister to talk them into this venture and had then pulled it off so brilliantly.
God certainly is good and Jesus was certainly present 'in the pub' tonight.