Yesterday was my birthday. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday - it was certainly the busiest day I've ever had on my Facebook wall. I even got a message from Andrew White in Baghdad! I had a really good day, some great presents and a meal of sausages and mash with the family in the evening - what more could a man ask for?
But it was also a much more exciting birthday yesterday - the 20th birthday of Sparklers, our mums and toddlers ministry. When Caroline Hanbury and her gang of dedicated volunteers began it 20 years ago I don't think they had any idea what they were starting. Over that time there have been three different leaders (Caroline, my wife Catrina and now Dany Smith), an army of volunteers and many changes and new initiatives, but the goal has always stayed the same, to provide the best mums and toddlers group in the town and in that context to present the message of Jesus as clearly and as persuasively as possible.
As we talk about creating peach communities Sparklers would be a great example, in many ways a pioneer of the culture we are now building across the church. Always willing to welcome and accept anyone who came, but never ashamed or afraid to be clear about the core, about Jesus and what He means to us. The fruit of this peach has been many lives transformed by the power of God's love.
Happy Birthday to Sparklers!