Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rock on the Isle of Wight

For the last few years, CMM has made a regular visit to the Isle of Wight, inspired by Wight churches together, and several important connections over the years such as June, Trish and the Harley family. Brian Harley is a URC minister in Shanklin and is heavily involved with GEAR - the Group for Evangelism And Renewal in the United Reformed Church.

This time CMM travelled over to perform Rock on the island, and the team for the week consisted of the 6 principal soloists from the Rock CD - Devon Brown, Bill Carpenter, Simon Cooper, Ann Steer, Aly Ottaway and Helen, as well as native-moved-to-the-mainland Sarah Harley on violin. Sarah has only been part of a couple of CMM gigs, but she is already showing herself to be a wonderful asset to the team - amazing on violin, and with a lovely singing voice.

The team (accompanied by Barrie) arrived on the Island for a meal and a rehearsal on the Friday evening. The rehearsal was at St. John's Newport, which was to be the venue for a performance on Sunday afternoon. The choir were fantastically trained by June, and we had some amazing techies - Simon and Dave - who looked after us amazingly well.

After a night with our wonderful hosts we had a free morning and then a wonderful lunch at Trish's. As well as Barrie from the mainland, the choir were also supplemented by Mark, Cheryl and Shirley, all of whom are regulars on CMM's travels.

In the afternoon we set up and rehearsed at St. John's Sandown, and then our performance was in the evening. The church was very cold, but we warmed to our task - the choir were amazing, particularly in the lovely acoustic, and there was a big appreciative audience. People chatted for ages afterwards - it was difficult to get away!

On Sunday the team split in two - Helen took Bill, Simon and Aly to St. John's Newport for the morning service, and Roger had Devon, Ann and Sarah at Shanklin URC. The service in Newport was an early start, but it went well. Helen preached while Aly read a monologue and Bill and Simon sang 'Simon Peter, do you love me?' One of the highlights of the service came just after the lay reader Anne had spoken to the children about God's word being sweeter than honey and richer than money. Two small children came wandering slowly to the front after Anne's talk while Helen was getting up to speak. They were holding hands and looking pleadingly at Anne - in the hope that she would give them some of the chocolate money she had been holding up! Roger and team had a great time in Shanklin - there are a lot of good musicians at the church, including Verity, an adopted member of the Harley family. She is also turning into an amazing violinist, and perhaps we will be able to use her too in future.

After lunch it was time for our afternoon performance at St. John's Newport. As it was their second go, the choir were even better, and the audience this time seemed less reserved - it was a fabulous performance, and people were really blessed.

In the evening we had a lovely meal at the Harley household, before a day off on the Monday.

Huge thanks go to all those involved in inviting us and putting us up. We understand that someone became a Christian at one of the performances, which is wonderful news - praise God!

We received an email from Mary Jackson, who was inspired by the weekend:

I'm still singing along to Rock in my head all day long after last weekend on the Isle of Wight! It was wonderful - as always. I was inspired to write this poem after seeing 'just an ordinary man' take the part of Jesus.

Just an ordinary man

I saw Him standing there –

He was just an ordinary man,

Nothing to set Him apart from his friends –

Until He looked at me.

There was something different about him,

Was it the look in His eyes,

Full of love and compassion

As He looked and called me ‘My Child’.

But there was something else,

A sadness in His eyes

As if to say to me, ‘My Child,

I’m longing for you. Please come.’

And then it was that I realized

That this very ordinary man

Was no other than my Saviour –

Jesus – God’s son – come to earth as Man.

Looking forward to our next Roger Jones event on the Island in Holy Week.

Mary Jackson

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