Summer nights

Wednesday, 9 September, 2009

When ordained pioneer minister, Ben Norton, was watching the tv one night he suddenly had an idea. Before long he got hold of Sam Foster a fellow pioneer in the next town to see if they could do something in their area together. They were soon taken aback by the amazing response. Ben takes up the story

The idea came from watching an episode of Top Gear when the presenters all travelled to Asia on mopeds and stopped over somewhere taking in the sights. One of the things that amazed them was the sight of hundreds of floating tea-lights being sent off down a river at night. The visual impact of this was amazing and even made the all-male macho petrol-heads stop and think.

I pondered what doing something similar might provoke in members of the public here on the Yorkshire coast. So Sam Foster (pioneer minister) and Shena Woolridge (pioneer minister and Church Army evangelist respectively, both based in Scarborough) and a handful of others set off to light up a section of the local beach and see if it would invoke something of the spiritual in passers by.

We were not too sure how it would be received, but were totally blown away. Two hundred people stopped and looked between 7:30 and 11:30pm.

Some lit a candle and walked off, some stood and chatted, some asked for prayer, and some told of their own spiritual journeys. But one thing I noticed throughout the night was that those who chose to take part in whatever way, ended up leaving the space in a different direction. For those who were walking on the beach they would have continued walking on the beach if we had not been there but they walked off up on to the pathway and vice versa.

I wondered if this was a symbol of what was happening spiritually for people? This event was maybe not life-changing, in the sense of making a 'u-turn'; but for many it was more of a 'tilt of the axis', for some ever so slightly. That night there was an encounter that maybe changed something, somewhere in their journey.

We are hopefully going to do some more summer nights up and down the East Coast and when we do, more info will appear on the St Maxs website and my blog.