THE first work of transformation at the Fiesta weekend, organised by The Salvation Army’s Devon and Cornwall Division, United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland, began on Thursday morning as a large cattle-shed exhibition hall at the Royal Cornwall Showground near Wadebridge was turned into a place of worship.
Open to everyone, Fiesta brought people of all ages together to encounter God through worship, prayer, creative arts, sport, music and fellowship. The division was delighted to welcome the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner Lyndon Buckingham) and Commissioner Bronwyn Buckingham (World Secretary for Women’s Ministries) as leaders for the weekend. For Commissioner Bronwyn this was an especially significant visit, as her New Zealand family has Cornish roots.
Fiesta commenced on Friday evening with an open-air prayer meeting overlooking the beautiful Cornish countryside. The Chief of the Staff prayed passionately: ‘Empower us to be your people, Lord, for the world desperately needs your people.’
It was evident that the visiting leaders felt at home sharing in fellowship with people throughout the weekend. Commissioner Bronwyn even said that a highlight of Fiesta had been the conversations she had shared with many people. The Chief said he was excited to hear people share their passion to be effective and creative in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, reimagining mission and furthering the Kingdom of God in their communities.
There was much in the weekend to equip people for creative mission – reaching out to older people through singing, for instance; engaging with art and dance in worship; prayer walking; messy church; sports ministry; and a ‘Stomp’-inspired seminar featuring dance and percussion using everyday items.
As people gathered for worship and teaching it was evident that the Holy Spirit was present in the exuberance and joy of worship; in quiet moments of prayer and reflection; in the joy of the young people; in testimony; and in the powerful teaching of the commissioners which challenged many people in their Christian living.
During Sunday morning worship, following Commissioner Bronwyn’s call to choose to love authentically, many people moved to the front of the arena to pray, showing their willingness to go deeper in their relationships with God. It was moving to see people praying and supporting each other.
There was a deep sense that God was in this place and that the prayer at the beginning of the weekend from the Chief of the Staff that God would ‘empower us to be your people’ was being answered.
Report by Major Pamela Smith