10th May 2019
The SOS Community Church, a small church plant based in Southend-on-Sea, brought church to the people of Southend on Sabbath 20th April. Thousands of people flocked from miles around to hear singing and to see drumming and marching by the SEC Drum Corps and Drill Team. News of the event was immediately put online by local news media (titled “Thousands of people have come to Southend today to enjoy the 22°C warm weather!” https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=268347774120167) which received 90,000 views within 3 days.
Within 4 hours over 50 public health screening tests were conducted with the assistance of Area 8 Health Ministries Coordinator, Jennie James and her team from Ipswich. Morecia Barclay provided smoothies and additional health advice. Furthermore, a “Sabbath Sofa” was provided for those who needed to take the weight off their feet, simultaneously it presented the opportunity to introduce them to the Sabbath day of rest. The SOS Community Church distributed over 1,000 items of literature and collected just under £400 for ADRA with help from representatives of the Southend SDA Church Pathfinders Club and local ADRA agent, Paulette Gordon.
Among the newest additions to the church plant are the couple Elston and Tashae Waldron. This was the first time that they had experienced the church in the high street event. They commented, “The highlight of the day was how the people reacted to the drum corps as they were intrigued by the skill and the professionalism of the group. The music was also another highlight: people were seen praising God and even requesting their favourite religious song to be played by the “DJ”. Overall, it was a great day in Zion. We might not have been in a physical structure for church, but church on the high street was a memorable one.”
Church plant leader Dr. Colin Gordon, added, “I knew that we were going to have a wonderful day from the moment we arrived at our designated site. We were given a venue by the council, overlooking the sea and Southend pier, the longest pleasure pier in the world.
As the sun was rising over the sea, I noticed a gentleman whom we had never met before sitting in the very place we were going to pitch a tent for our services. I asked him his name and whether he was a man of faith. He told me, “Andrew, I’m a Pastor from Nigeria. I happen to be here on holiday”. “Now what are the chances of that?” I thought. I was speechless except for joyous praises to God. Starting with just two of us to build a tent tabernacle in just an hour, I was reminded of Luke 10:2, “Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” We serve a mighty God!”
The SOS Community Church wishes to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the event. In summary, with regard to the success of this year’s Open Air Church, one public observer commented, “Although I don’t believe in God, this is infectious.” That was the start of his journey.