Sunday, September 06, 2009

Hope and Optimism. Hallelujah!

I've always found debate involving different ideas to be stimulating - within limits that is. The basis of good politics is disagreement over philosophy and ideas. So it will come as no surprise for you to learn that I'm fascinated by extremes in human behaviour. And I can think of no greater gap between extremes than the 'comments' thread on Guido Fawkes' blog, and the Mayor of Newtown's Civic Service, which I attended this morning. Where Guido's readers see nothing but ill when they reflect on the merits of politicians, today's preacher saw goodness and love.

The service was held at the Hope Community Church in Newtown. I've always referred to it as the 'Pentecostal Church'. I've been there before to meetings and to visit the attached residential home. But today was the first time I've been to a service. I was seriously impressed. Lots of young people, clearly enjoying themselves. The service was constructed around a sense of optimism that's a bit alien to me. I admit to having within me that streak of the dark pessimism that is typically Welsh - and without which the late Sir Kyffin Williams wouldn't have been a great artist.

Anyway back to the extremes. The sermon (or it could been the address) was given by Alan Hewitt. I've never heard anything like it. In praise of public servants!! Honestly. For twenty minutes he spoke about me and my kind (not personally of course) in the most generous of terms. When he finished, I felt pretty good about myself - all the Mayor's official guests did. It probably made us want to go out and do some more good. What really impressed me was that with each new statement in praise of politicians, there were audible murmurings of assent from the regular churchgoers. Cllr. Richard White was positively bursting with pride by the end - a truly joyous sight to behold, and which inspired him to make a very good speech later.

But it would take me a while to get used to it. To me, applause in church a bit shocking. And all the arm waving by the congregation while singing, and the shouts of 'Hallelujah' etc. during the sermon shocked me as well. But when I think about it, why on earth not? There's no law against having a good time in church. And there were some fantastic ideas. I've seen big screens in the pub where the punters can all watch the Premiership, but never three big screens in church where I could read the words of the hymns, without having to resort to my reading glasses! At one stage I felt as though I was in the cinema.

The whole occasion was worship through a prism of optimism - revolutionary for me. I'm too 'conservative' to change my way of worshiping. But watching huge numbers of young people joining in an optimistic vision of humanity through worship of Jesus Christ tells me that the Hope Community Church has got something very right indeed. Oh and I must add my thanks and best wishes to Joy Jones, Mayor of Newtown and husband Roy, a Berriew man.

9 comments:

House Facts said...

I think the 'age of the ordinary people' is coming to the fore. We have had just about enough of the extremists telling us what we should think and if we stray from what we should think we are this, that or the other awful thing. In Obama's America we are seeing it on a daily basis. Ordinary people are now fed up and turning up at Town Hall meetings, the extrem left is organizing to drown out the ordinary people and are calling them awful names. President Obama has failed to rain in his own troops and the ordinary people will have their say in the 2010 elections when every seat in the House of Representatives (435 seats up for re-election) and one third of the Senate (33 or 34 seats up for re-election). I am hoping that the ordinary people of America will give the extremists a lesson in ordinary people power.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy you enjoyed your visit to my church. My only regret is I was not there to meet you again.

Alan Hewitt read your blog out today in the evening service, and on behalf of all the congregation there I thank you for your kind words.

I'm really pleased you enjoyed your visit and I hope you will join us again at one of our services. Thank you once again.

Benjamin Breeze.

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

Well, at least it keeps them off the streets....

BenBreeze10 said...

Thank you so much for coming to my church Glyn. I was really pleased to hear you enjoyed yourself, and look forward to you returning again.

My only regret is I don't come to the morning services, so I missed the service. I only come to the evening ones, Alan Hewitt read out your blog to us all in the evening service and we all really enjoyed it.

I predict you'll be getting a higher amount of traffic on this site due to that. Thank you once again for coming. I hope to see you soon.

Ben Breeze.

andy said...

Apologies Glyn, bit off topic, but are we all joining the campaign to save Election Night?

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=126713799469

Apparently, Powys "declined to respond"...

Anonymous said...

I also was at the service and was delighted with the passion that was clearly shown. Congratulations to the Mayor, Joy on arranging a great service. Congratulations to Hope Church on putting on an occassion which was enjoyable and truly inspired. Thank you to Alan Hewitt who gave the address and encouraged us all to have servant hearts and make this world a better place to live in. It was great to be a part of this special day. Dawn

Anonymous said...

It was a great service and wonderful day

The Blog Comment Authority said...

Can you worship me?

Glyn Davies said...

Ben - Thanks. Any new visitors will not be impressed, since I took off to Italy late Sunday evening for a holiday. No posting for five days. I had not expected my post to be read out. Glad you liked it.

Andy - I will be joining it. Next day counting will take all the excitemant out of election day.

Anons - It was a very good civic service, which I think all present enjoyed. Joy made a good decision to hold it at the Hope Community Church.