For this last week SPLAT has hit St Mark’s as it does every October half term. The combination of 100 junior school age children from the local community, a great team of 50 volunteers from St Mark’s church (some who had taken time off work) and a great willingness to serve, have fun, talk God and just be there resulted in an amazing, life changing, week for many. This is all headied up skilfully by my amazing wife, Sarah, and our amazing friend Jo.
SPLAT has been running at October half term for 14 years. Over those years Sarah and Jo, and the rest of the team (many of whom have probably also been at each one), have gained the trust of, and met with, many parents and children in the community. SPLAT is seen as a trusted event of St Mark’s church where the church is simply sharing gospel values in word and action with the local community. I was even in one of my regular cafes this week and was asked if SPLAT was on by one of the staff because her child went, her last one being 6 years ago. 6 years on, this woman was still saying how amazing an event it was for her children.
Each year has a theme. We have seen Star Trek, Cowboys, Under the Sea … the list could go on …. this year the theme was MI SPLAT …. secret agents everywhere!
I had a small role each day to turn up at 12ish to be around and simply chat with parents. I met some pretty cool people and enjoyed listening and hearing peoples views and thoughts. Some I laughed with, others I listened to concerns of … all I enjoyed the privilege of spending time with.
Each time I turned up the atmosphere of fun, expectation and anticipation was really strong. On one day in particular I was moved to tears when Sarah asked children if they would like to be anointed for anything in particular. I welled up (being the great ‘man’ I am) as there were massive queues of children waiting to be anointed with holy oil. The sight was amazing and would have been a real eye opener for people who think children can’t get God and spiritual stuff!
My whole family are exhausted today …. but SPLAT has an event later this afternoon and then we are celebrating the SPLAT week in St mark’s on Sunday morning. As well as tonight there will also be a Christmas SPLAT event, Bethlehem Village, on the afternoon of Saturday 21st December …. put that date in your diaries!
SPLAT – was an amazing week!