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Ecumenical Songs of Praise - July 2016

Ever growing in popularity the 21st Anniversary of the East Barnet Festival was held on the first three days of July.


On the Sunday the sun had burst upon Oak Hill Park in all its radiant glory.  On the colourful fun fair, a gleaming classic car collection, a variety of stalls and events and on the hundreds basking on the incline below Church Hill Road, it shed its equal ray.  Not least God's light fell upon our striped pro-tem 'tabernacle', the setting for our 'Songs of Praise in the Park' when congregations from East Barnet Anglican, Methodist and Baptist churches were gathered for a precious hour exemplifying the spirit of ecumenism or universal Christian unity.


Every seat was taken as the service began with the Revd James Mustard, rector of St. Mary's welcoming all who had joined us on such a bright day.  Baptist minister Rupert Lazar read the passage Luke Ch 11v1 to 9 (Christ teaching us how to pray) before introducing 'some of my friends' from his church to sing 'Let thy Kingdom come', a beautifully rendered anthem by an unaccompanied ladies choir with the cri de coeur for love and peace to reign on earth 'as it is in heaven'.


In Rupert's engaging address the arch fiend was afforded many names.  Satan's work in these our times was all too apparent.  Yet we also have power, the power of the holy spirit within us.  We shouldn't be afraid of the word 'power' and were invited to shout it in unison more than once, loud enough for the festival outside to hear us.  As Christians we were empowered to bring about God's Kingdom.  At times his petitioning was inspiring; met by cries of 'Amen'.


St. Mary's Curate Sam Korn who later read our prayers, led the children of St.Mary's Sunday Club in the Lord's Prayer with actions e.g. covering their faces with their hands when it came to 'Lead us not into temptation'.


The Revd James Mustard acknowledged Rupert's style of preaching, congratulating him on his appointment as President of the Baptist Union (sustained applause).  With music master Alan Danson on keyboard, hymns following the theme for the day 'Thy Kingdom Come' had been sung.  Perhaps most appropriate 'Shine Jesus shine, Fill this land with the Father's glory'. James thanked all who had taken part before The Blessing.

Edward Eldred.