Today was the biggest community event of the year in Thrapston – The Charter Fair. For the third time (that is every year since I arrived, not sure what happened before that) all the Churches joined together to take part.
This year was our biggest effort by a long way. All four Churches had many volunteers and together we provided a huge range of FREE activities. For the last year our policy has been to offer back to the community during the Charter Fair and so nearly everything is free (except teas, books & donations for the flower festival).
This year we made the Thrapston Charter Fair one of our 15 or so Hope 08 events, so we really went to town to offer something special to the people of Thrapston.
In the High Street, by the ally that leads to the graveyard we focused on prayer. Everyone was invited to write a prayer on a card attached to a helium balloon and at 4pm at the end of the fair we launched around 140 prayer balloons into the sky. We also had a large sheet of cloth on which you could draw around your hand and then write a prayer in it. From here we also encouraged people into the Churchyard.
In the Churchyard we had so many things to do that I lost count. There was an information tent particularly focusing on Space2Be (our Saturday place of quiet) and the kids games (hook a duck, frog hoopla, play dough, giant connect 4, stilts, big Jenga, inflatable darts, a competition to win a goody bag and more).
In the Church there was a flower festival, colouring and cartoons to watch (the theme of the Charter Fair was Cartoon Characters) and a book stall
Then there were the teas in the Church Hall.
The weather was so good that whole groups of families just spread out on the grass while the kids enjoyed themselves. My guess is that for most of the afternoon there were several hundred people in the Church and grounds, nobody could remember seeing so many people coming in and out of the Church in an afternoon (and they made more money on the teas than ever before).
It has been a joy to see the growth in the involvement of all our Churches over the years. There was a time when it was pretty much just the clergy with a few helpers, now we had loads of people getting involved and wandering around in Hope 08 t-shirts. That is especially good as this will be the last year with this team of clergy (Arthur: Baptist, Brian: Catholic, Paul: CoE and me) as Paul finishes his curacy real soon now. In fact the organising group (who have been working hard on this for months) was itself larger than the total number of helpers in past years – Hope 08 has really energised the Churches in Thrapston.
So a great success and looking forward to our next Hope 08 event in Thrapston which is tomorrow – Praise in the Park. We have a big lorry, a band with PA (thanks to Raunds Methodists for the PA) and the promise of a great time together (games for younger kids). bring your lunch and join us from noon at the Peace park, Thrapston. If it is wet then we will be in the Methodist Chapel in Market Road (opposite the cattle market).