Churches across the country should get geared up to be at the hub of community celebrations ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations next year.
That’s the rallying call from HOPE and the Evangelical Alliance, following Buckingham Palace’s announcement that the Big Lunch would be part of the official royal programme for the four-day national holiday. The aim to see more than a million people celebrate together on their streets has caused HOPE and the Evangelical Alliance to encourage churches to prepare for the party.
“The scale of the recent Royal Wedding celebrations all over the country proved that the public love street parties,” said Steve Clifford, Chair of HOPE and General Director of the Evangelical Alliance. “Communities really come together over a national celebration like this. In many places people were getting to know neighbours they had never spoken to before and creating a shared local spirit. Christians can be at the heart of all this.”
To help build a bigger sense of community, churches, small groups and individuals can get involved with street parties and lunches on their own streets, wherever they live in the UK..
Roy Crowne, HOPE’s Executive Director, said: “This is a calendar moment and an unmissable opportunity to make connections in your area, to be part of building up your community and to use opportunities for outreach through our words and actions. This could be just the start of 2012 community engagement with the Olympic celebrations following on. As followers of Jesus we should be in the business of community-building and sharing our hope with others.”
As churches are one of the few institutions that are in nearly every single town, village and city it is hoped that members of every denomination will use creative ways to get involved or possibly offer their catering facilities.
The Big Lunch has taken place on the first Sunday in June for the past three years. Organised by the Eden Project, a conservation charity, the 2012 event will see this join in with something much larger as the public gather their community together to commemorate the royal occasion.
HOPE and the Evangelical Alliance will provide practical advice and inspiration to encourage church involvement over the coming months.
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