On Pentecost Sunday (27 May), though there were no visible tongues of fire, the temperature soared and the sun beat down as a crowd of over 100 people gathered to worship God in the picturesque ruins of Lesnes Abbey in Abbey Wood.
Leading the worship were the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Rev Michael Ipgrave, the Chair of the Methodist District, the Rev Jenny Impey and local representatives of the Methodist Circuit. Although it cannot be said that “three thousand people were added to their number that day”, many passers-by stopped and stared at what may have seemed a strange spectacle, but was in fact an example of a living Church gathering. The Word was clearly proclaimed through the direct reading of Scripture, and the preaching which followed. As the bread was broken, and the wine was poured and shared, there was definitely a sense of God’s presence in that ancient place of worship. We were encouraged, as the theme of the Service proclaimed, to “Go for Gold, in the power of the Spirit”.
After the service, there was time to improve the suntan by everyone sharing the different picnics they had brought. Wonderfully, none of those who led the worship had to rush off to other commitments, so there was time for people from the different churches to get to know each other. At the original feeding of the 5,000 there was quite a mess left over, about 12 baskets of food. However, in an important act of witness those who participated in the service picked up all their rubbish, and left the site as clean as when we arrived.