03 June 2014
Biggest birthday party ever
The Biggest Birthday Party Ever, a national celebration of Pentecost, held its launch events last week in London, Sheffield, Birmingham and the Wirral.
Organised by the Pentecost Festival 2014 to celebrate the Church's birthday the launch events heralded a host of parties and celebratory events being held this coming weekend by local churches across the UK.
The vision behind the parties is to be Church without walls, taking the gospel to where people are rather than inviting them to a church building. It's also a challenge to local churches to reach out to their communities, celebrate together and to highlight its heritage and diversity.
The Pentecost Festival was pioneered in 2008 by Share Jesus International (SJI). SJI communicates the good news about Jesus in relevant ways and is responsible for initiating scores of projects every year and encouraging churches in their mission. Pentecost Festival is in collaboration with Christian organisations and local churches which filled the streets of London with over 100 events and attracted tens of thousands of people to events across the capital.
Director of SJI, Andy Frost, says: "It's time for churches to exit their buildings and share this momentous occasion – the birthday of the Church – with their communities. It's an exciting time for all of us and we plan to party in style, not just for fun but to share our love of Jesus with those around us and to show the joy which God can bring into our lives and the difference he can make to us and our communities."
In 2013, the festival went national under the tagline 'The Biggest Birthday Party Ever' across 23 London boroughs and five other regions across the UK.
Having built up momentum in London, Pentecost Festival is encouraging local churches across the country to become party hosts. Churches can access available resources including models for mission, guides on liaising with local councils, marketing and budgeting advice, performer lists, training for speakers and even bunting and tracts.
SJI wants to focus on Pentecost as a reminder that the gospel needs to be shared in a relevant way and is an invitation to everyone.
Over the past few years, the festival has seen the Church leave the building and creatively connect with the local community. Events ranged from classical concerts, hip hop nights, stand-up comedy evenings and international food festivals to open air family fun days, ethical fashion shows and theatre evenings celebrating the arts.
Venues have included coffee shops, parks, theatres and night-clubs, as well as iconic places such as Leicester Square, the O2 arena, Marble Arch and even a boat on the Thames. The Festival has also featured on BBC One.
"Everybody loves a birthday party," added Andy. "We've seen churches leave their buildings and share Jesus and Pentecost is a great time of year to do this."
BBPE is also included in the Crossing London 2014 calendar, which aims to unite all churches across London through a unified rhythm of mission throughout the year.