Thursday 17 December 2015

A musical end to the year

We finished the CMM year by getting back to CMM basics - musicals!

First, Helen took a trip to South Wales - to Port Talbot, to spend some time with her parents, but also to lead a musical in a day at the Methodist Church on the Sandfields estate.  This was the fourth musical in a day in the church and was a great success.  The musical this year was a shortened version of Rock (Songs 1, 3-11 and 16) narrated by the Peter character.  Helen's amazing team were Alan (Peter), Paul (Jesus), Caroline (Miriam), Wendy (Zillah) and Miriam (Susannah).
The choir in Port Talbot

The weather on the day was utterly appalling, but that seemed to bring people out in force, with a massive tenor and bass section, almost as many as there were sopranos and altos.  The choir learnt the music amazingly quickly, and while the performance wasn't perfect, the atmosphere was brilliant, and the message of the musical incredibly powerful.

The following morning Helen preached at Taibach Methodist Church in Port Talbot, and shared the service with her mum.  Huge thanks to Chris and Viv for organising the whole weekend.

The following weekend Annie led a special Inn Crowd in a day event at St Mary's church in Moseley.  The day had been organised by Mick Perrier as a kind of precursor to our Worship Works day there in February.

Annie had a lovely choir and orchestra for the day, but sadly there wasn't a huge amount of involvement from the members of the local church.  Those that were there were wonderfully welcoming and helped make it into a lovely day.  Annie had a lovely team of CMM soloists - Katie, Ann, Jonathan and Simon.  Then in the afternoon the choir was supplemented by instrumentalists including Tim, Emma and Michael.  Bethany joined in with the choir, where there were already Megan, Bryony and Alice who had taken part in our Lee Abbey music week.  The four of them together were the shepherds, which was great fun.

Then right at the end of November, Roger, Mary, Annie, Helen and Amy went to St John's House on the Alum Rock Road.  The Community of St John the Divine (of Call the Midwife fame!) have long been supporters-of and supported-by CMM.  Every year we have been to lead a special advent evening for the sisters there, which has turned into one of the highlights of our calendar.

The Sisters of St John the Divine
This time it was lovely to introduce to them two of Roger's new carols, and to share in fellowship together.  They had invited a number of guests, including quite a few familiar faces to CMM.  And afterwards of course there were Sr Ivy's famous mince pies!  This was sadly probably the final advent evening at St John's house as the sisters are hoping to move to smaller premises.  We pray for the sisters at this time of upheaval, and ask for God's blessing in their move to Marston Green.

The choir in Wigan
Our final event of the year was yet another musical - The Inn Crowd in Wigan.  The main invite had come from Kathleen Shepherd who had planned the musical as part of St Paul's centenary year celebrations.

They had organised all of their own wonderful soloists, so the CMM team was small - only Roger, Helen, Felicity and Carol and Graham.  Helen and Felicity played their instruments, and Carol helped by singing for the Sunday morning service.  Graham sang in the choir, and then stepped in at the last moment to take one of the wise men roles.

Rev Neil the shepherd
We received a fabulous welcome from the folks in Wigan, and particularly loved working alongside the vicar Neil, who was one of the shepherds.  The performance was great fun, with a really big audience, and wine and mince pies afterwards!

Thomas in the paddling pool!
On the Sunday morning Roger preached, and Helen and Neil led the service together.  One of the highlights came after the sermon, when Neil came to the mic and shared that he really felt that "Salvation is in this place."  Then he invited people who had felt moved in any way to respond to the message, and to come and stand with a young man called Thomas who was going to be baptised.

Thomas just after his baptism
The baptism was incredibly special - it was in a children's paddling pool with three buckets of water - one for the Father, another for the Son and another for the Holy Spirit.  The gospel message was incredibly powerful and life-changing that day.

What a wonderful way to end CMM's year!

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