A Carol Service in Harrow Council Chamber

The following is an account provided by Susan, coordinator of the ‘Christians in Discussion’ group at Harrow Borough Council, of how her group put on a workplace event last Christmas. This shows so clearly the impact that a small group, working together with the council, can have if they step out for God. It isn’t always easy, but the rewards are huge, as can be seen from the feedback received. This group reached out and involved many people in the event, and clearly many lives were touched.

A carol service was arranged by our staff and councillor group “Christians in Discussion” last year. It took place in Harrow Council Chamber.

One of the stipulations for our funding by the council was that we would invite all faiths and indeed there were several faiths represented among the residents, councillors and staff. The mayor spoke on behalf of his charity Coram for which we took a retiring collection of £184.

The carol singing was supported by the Harrow Community Choir, a secular choir which grew out of a course for mental health service users. The choir invited staff and councillors to 2 of their rehearsals to sing carols we had chosen for the event.

We had Bible readings, a singing trio and a talk from a councillor who is a pastor. Street Pastors, Healing on the Streets and Christians against Poverty spoke briefly and offered prayer and support. They appreciated being invited and there was a lot of networking. Indeed when I went home (2 hours after the event finished) there were still 6 people praying. We had a table with leaflets about local Christmas events/churches/organisations and someone took one of the Gideon Bibles. I expect that some people went to carols in their local churches the following weekend for the first time.

The IT worked just in time (we use powerpoint for words of songs and readings) and the lift which was not working at 4pm, was mended ready for my mother’s zimmer frame…!

Here are some extracts of comments I received after the event:

Clare, Healing on the Streets: ‘Thank so much for inviting us. What you’re doing is very important and it was so clear that God was on the move tonight. The presence of God during the concert was very powerful and many people (including non-Christians) commented on it. We prayed for a number of people, not all believers, and were there for quite a while! It was a privilege to do so. We are hoping a Hindu lady we spent some time with will come to church on Sunday. Well done for putting Jesus right at the heart of Harrow’s local government.’

Staff member: ‘The staff trio Ellensi sang beautifully, the gospel message was preached and the food looked and tasted great!’

Councillor who gave the talk: ‘Wow, what can we say but thank you Jesus for such a successful carol service last night. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to share the Good News we have in Jesus in a Christmas celebration. I do not take it for granted. My children are so grateful for being allowed to be part of the choir.’

A Councillor who read a Bible passage: ‘I just wanted to drop you a short note to thank you again for providing me with the opportunity to read at yesterday’s service. It was an honour and privilege to take part.’

Susan: ‘An ex-member of staff who contacts me every year to ask when the carols are because she enjoys it and likes to pray with the Healing on Streets team. She heard me say that there were other carols and said she thought she might like to go to one. I suggested a church local to her. She asked if it would be ok just to turn up (ie without an invitation).

Some Zoroastrians had contacted me to ask if we could provide a choir who could sing carols at their club. I couldn’t but I suggested that they could come and network at ‘our’ carols, and they did!

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