Harborne Carnival

The Harborne Carnival may have opened at 10.00, but for many of our volunteers the day began long before. Early morning, in a flurry of activity, we set up three large gazebos for our different ministry and activity strands. Many hands make light work, and soon our pop-up café – on the pavement in front of the kitchen window – was laden with a staggering array of homemade cakes in every variety. We also had our range of drinks, from piping hot tea and coffee, to ice cold homemade elderflower or pink lemonade. Outside the sanctuary, Marcus and the musicians from St John’s and Oasis Church kept us in high spirits with live music from different bands playing both familiar and original songs throughout the day. On the road in front of the church we had prayer stations, opportunities to ask for healing prayer, and an engaging conversation piece (a thought-provoking sign inviting people to decide who they believe Jesus really is). On the street we had a collection of colourful and creative children’s crafts combined with what proved to be one of our most popular attractions: a bubble machine! From morning to afternoon, all was a hive of activity with volunteers from St John’s and Oasis church all getting stuck in. This tangible spirit of friendship and self-sacrifice laid the groundwork for the exciting and memorable highlights we have collected here.

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“I had a wonderful time on Sunday. I was quite sorry when my shift came to an end. Before the event I had felt some reservation about the occasion and whether it was right to be involved.  I loved however feeling we all belonged and that I could make a small contribution to the whole. Families who walked past enjoyed seeing us in the community. I heard phrases like – ‘they didn’t do this last year’; ‘isn’t this a good idea’. I got the impression that people felt we were valuing them and they in turn appreciated our efforts.” – Esther

“A friend of mine told me she went to the Carnival and she was really touched that St John’s were handing out free water.” – Alex

“I was mainly involved in the prayer behind the scenes in the building. We were shown several answers and believe that there will have been many more. Early on we prayed for encouragement for the people on the “early shift” and shortly after that someone came in to fetch more chairs needed for the HOTS team. Then someone was led to pray for bereaved people who might be attending the carnival. About half an hour later we heard that a St John’s member had spent 20 minutes chatting in the cafe with a man who had recently lost his wife.” – Helen

“We were really happy with the number of people that God brought to us with open hearts, who shared with us so openly and did want prayer, and even people who at first were a little hesitant but eventually opened up to us. We even had a number from other faiths we were able to pray for. There was a different atmosphere in that stretch of road that was commented on by those in the café and passing by.” – Sue

It was challenging to be out of my comfort zone and pray for people outside of the church buildings – but then exhilarating to do so!  It was great praying with or encouraging children – something I don’t usually get to do.”
— Team member from the prayer tent
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There are so many more comments like these, it seems the day was enjoyed by all! We don’t know what we’ll be doing next year, but we hope it will be as wonderful as the last!

Thank you again to everyone who made this wonderful day happen!

Jo English