Clergy letter

 Well, that’s it. Festival   Manchester is over! Or is it?

 Let me back up a bit: You probably heard about Festival Manchester, the huge free festival in Wythenshawe park last weekend. Hopefully, you managed to attend or even volunteer. By all accounts, it was a brilliant three days full of community spirit, fun and live music.

 As you walked round the site, there was something for everyone – face painting, fairground rides, magic shows, Battle of Britain flypasts, a beach (yes, a beach!), a gaming dome, extreme sports shows and more. It was fantastic to see so many families and different kinds of people coming together and simply having a good time in the sun.

 And then, of course, there was the main stage. We saw artists as well known as Lecrae, Goodboys, Matt Redman, Kingdom Choir and Guvna B. I still haven’t decided if my favourite bit was seeing a mosh pit to Christian rap, or a whole crowd belting out ’10,000 Reasons’ together, unashamedly giving glory to Jesus.

 Because as well as the fun and games, Festival Manchester was about real, lasting hope. Over the three days, thousands heard the good news of Jesus Christ and were challenged as to what they were going to do about it. There was preaching around the site, and a gospel presentation from the main stage each evening. By the grace of God, many people responded positively.

 That is why I opened by saying it isn’t really over. The fairground rides have been packed away, and the stage will be dismantled. But those who made a commitment to give their lives to Jesus, and the churches that will welcome them, need our prayer. Raising your hand in a field is one thing; it is now the church’s job to follow up with welcome and discipleship and make sure these new brothers and sisters are brought in to local gatherings of God’s people who will support them and run the race with them.

 So please pray – for those new Christians, for the churches they’ll attend, for the communities they will impact with their newly-given faith in Christ. Be ready to welcome new people to St Mary’s and St Cuthbert’s, if that happens! And praise God that Jesus is alive and building his church in Manchester.

 If you want to find out more about the follow-up to Festival Manchester, or some of the charitable causes they were plugging, head over to www.festivalmanchester.com or find them on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok).

 We are running a 3 week ‘Hope Explored’ see frontpage for details

Rev Ian Chidlow