Festivals continue to be pivotal in shifting culture at the heart of communities across the UK and in other nations too.
Here are some of stories and testimonials we think you might find inspiring. We would love to hear from you as well, why not send us the story of community festivals your church or group has run, and the impact they have had on your community?
From the Leaders
“Open Crowd” Festivals are the best missional activity we have done in our Church over the last 2 years. I would recommend every Baptist Church across London consider it as an effective way to connect with your community. It certainly is working for us.”
West Croydon Baptist Church
“Running our first festival was a huge step of faith for us, as a small church in central London. But with 2000 people coming along, and 5 churches joining us, we were delighted with the result. It was a “no-brainer” to do it all again this year, and next. The festivals have been hugely helpful in raising the profile of local churches and bringing us all together under one banner, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone who wants to make a difference in their community.”
Quaystone Church- Isle of Dogs
“I highly recommend community festival and training to any church that truly wants to connect with its community. The training for the festival is very important, if you want to get it right.”
Rev Osoba Otaigbe,
Minister, Tooting Junction Baptist Church
“For us the Festival we ran with Fusion marked a breaking through into being more a part of our community. We had some youth clubs already running but the festival gave us a vision for more and a determination to see that ‘more’ come into being. It wasn’t just for more groups (we now have lots more) but also for the church to be right at the heart of the community. God has amazed us in the doors he has opened.”
Oxford Community Church
From the Team
‘“All I did was listen to this lady about what it was like to move interstate. Then I offered to make them some stilts for their son. Then she asked me about youth groups and churches and how they used to go and she asked me what did I believe. She said do you know any good groups for kids this age. I said I could pass her phone number on to one I could recommend if she liked. She came in to get the stilts and I chased up the youth group leader for her. The kids went along and now I think she and her husband have ended up joining the church too.”
“During a church service in Sydney an Associate Professor of Law spoke of how he had recently become a Christian. He shared with the congregation that his journey to faith began when he went along to an Open Crowd Festival. He hadn’t been for many years to anything put on by Christians. He was impressed by what he saw and during the Festival was invited to an Alpha course. He decided to go along. The first few weeks he argued his way through the course. Near the end he gave in to God. The next year he joined the team organising the festival!’
‘This man seemed fascinated watching us paint the faces of children. I don’t know how he knew, but he said, “This is a Christian thing isn’t it. ” I said, ‘Yes’. He said which church do you go to. I told him. He said what time do they meet. I told him. He said, “I’ll be there tomorrow” . . . and he was.’
“A young mother had been watching from the edge of the oval for ages. I offered her a drink and asked her if her little girl might like her face painted. She wanted to know who was putting it all on. When I told it was the local churches, she said, “so this is what God is like?”
A Couple of Stories
“Open Crowd” Festivals began in Albania in 2005 after an Albanian had witnessed the Community Festivals in Athens during the Olympics. Over the years it is hard to quantify the impact of Festivals in changing cities across the south of Albania. This past summer the local teams ran 30 Festivals in 40 days often with teams of over 100 young trained people. Comments from local Mayors include, “You are my best friends, you are able to do what I cannot achieve”, “We are proud to have you in our city.”
The Mayor of Korce in the south of Albania acknowledges how the team through Festivals are changing the city. Now young people line up to have their faces painted, children co-operate and a strong level of social capital is growing in the city. One city Church has many new members through the impact of the Festivals. There are now over 400 in this Church and growing as the team runs monthly Day Trips and works in local schools. They plan to start another 10 church communities over this next year spearheaded by Festivals.
“We met Patricia when she came to our Festival. She wandered in with her mum and 2 little children. She was being temporarily housed at a Council Housing Unit just around the corner from where we gather as a church. Several people from our church community made conversation with her and the girls and she joined in the Games and sports. It was a great joy to see her turning up at our Sunday morning gatherings over the following weeks. She felt welcomed becoming more confident, trusting people with her children. A few weeks later 30 of us from the Church helped her move. We’ve become her friend and as a result she has been inviting some of her friends to come to Church, all are completely unchurched. The “woman at the well” has turned up to our Church with her friends.”
Join the movementThere are many ways of joining the SYC movement and helping to shift culture in our communities and nation.
Get in touchFor more information about our local centres or joining the team please contact us.