Church Welcomes 350 Pupils as Olympic Torch Passes By
A small church which is seeking to engage more with its community was delighted to be crammed with 350 pupils to mark the passing of the Olympic Torch
Scarisbrick New Road Baptist Church in Southport has just over 30 members but was packed to the rafters when the torch passed by earlier this month.
Minister in training David Beech had invited nearby Linaker Primary School for a fun day to celebrate the occasion, building on links he has made since volunteering to read with pupils once a week at the start of the year.
The children were welcomed into the church car park and served refreshments as the torch went past, and after it had gone by the church held three different activities.
There was a special assembly led by David and Johny Akinyemi, a canoeist who is representing Nigeria at the Olympics, and who attends Warrington Baptist Church.
In addition there were craft activities, while a local instructor took around 90 pupils through a dance/fitness routine in the car park. They were organised in such a way as to enable all the pupils to take part.
Around a month's worth of planning went into the activities, and most of the church members were involved in some way on the Friday.
'It was great,' said David. 'We've had lots and lots of positive feedback, with parent and teachers saying they had a fantastic day.
'I've long had a vision for using the Olympics to reach the community, and when I saw the torch relay was coming by we looked at what we could do. I thought it would be a community fun day, but when the school accepted our invitation for practical reasons we had to keep it to them.'
The church did open itself up however on the Saturday, inviting anyone in for tea, coffee and cake and to judge the artwork made on the previous day. Around 60-70 turned up, with one lady even returning the following day in order to attend the Sunday service. It's all part of a community focus which David hopes will grow.
'The whole weekend was a huge success in terms of networking with our community but also for the unity of the fellowship,' he said.
'A lot of my heart is community engagement. People aren't coming to us, so we need to go to them. I've tried to instil a sense of that since I've been here, and I've been delighted with the response from the congregation.
'Opening doors and looking outwards - it can only stand the church in good stead. I'm keen they should dream dreams - and trust in the Lord for great things.'