Sunday, July 02, 2006

Summer Madness

A post title of "Summer Madness" could point to so many different stories in Northern Ireland.

The upcoming "street festivals", complete with bonfires and unfortunate-yet-seemingly-inevitable civil disturbances, often mark a mad point of the summer.

The mad summer weather - at one point this afternoon I found myself taking off my coat due to the burning sunshine, and simultaneously getting cold rain drops on my exposed arms.

But I was in fact referring to the annual Summer Madness festival, held in the grounds of the Kings Hall at Balmoral and now in its twentieth year. Bringing together five thousand young and not so young, camping out under canvas and a few oldies in caravans, joining together for the five day Christian Festival - the largest in Ireland.

As has been the pattern over the last few years, we popped along for the Sunday morning/afternoon - not just because there's no charge for Sunday visitors. It's always so encouraging to see o many young Christians gathered: enthusiastic and growing in faith.

Communion at the end of Sunday morning worship is special - with thousands participating it is a mammoth piece of organisation, yet without losing individual meaning for each participant. Moving too to be unexpectedly served bread by someone I knew.

So despite the mix up over who would bring the picnic (the filled rolls were still sitting in the kitchen on our return home) we got lunch, and caught up with lots of old friends - while making some new ones.

A big thank you to all the (hundreds of) volunteers who make the festival run so smoothly. Keep at it.


TheNightMonkey said...

Thanks Alan in Belfast. SM is always a bit of a blast, and was no exception this year!

Stevie P said...

dude....SM sunday morning rocked...praise was ace and the big man was there watching over it all!! hope u manage to make it along to the white tent next year to see a bit of comedy in the evening!