Image: ASRs Paul Curd and Jim Henderson.
In the week when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died, it was poignant for the SASRA team and supporters to meet together for our first in-person Our Day since COVID. We were delighted to be able to use the excellent facilities at High Cross Church, Camberley and we certainly caused some interest and not a little mirth in their staff in attempting to set up a number of Gazebo’s in the downstairs hall. Scripture Readers and staff normally based at Havelock House, grappled with this first challenge of the day and despite a variety of approaches and plans and one or two minor crises on the way, succeeded. The downstairs hall became a haven for supporters to visit different tables covering different themes of SASRA’s work and ministry including Finance, Communications, Events and Church engagement. There was one more team challenge to come at lunch and that was attempting to distribute slices of pizza equitably amongst the Scripture Readers and the remaining members of the SASRA team. This delicate operation was also successfully navigated but not without some droppages and a few alarmed faces en route.
There were two significant highlights of the day. The first were the reports by our Scripture Readers. Five Scripture Readers gave an outline of their work, the highlights of the past year and their current prayer needs. A packed room listened intently and with great interest and not a little thankfulness to God for answered prayer and his provision over the last twelve months.
The second highlight was the afternoon service which the sound team had arranged to also be broadcast online and which is available to watch here. The service was led by Council member Group Captain Mark Bunting and Executive Director Andrew Hill who poignantly read out a message from our Patron the Queen, wishing SASRA a blessed day. He also read out a draft letter which he proposed be sent from SASRA to King Charles offering our condolences on his and the nation’s loss. There followed the traditional singing of the National Anthem, a particularly moving moment for the Association and all who were gathered.
Our newest Scripture Reader, Steven Dougherty was introduced, and he explained something of his background and his call to the work. Scripture Readers Josh Fortune and Mike Blackstock also gave a report on their first year with SASRA. One of the things that had been a real blessing to Mike was to receive a verse of Scripture from an unknown supporter (to him at least) which was a wonderful encouragement to him at a challenging time. It was a reminder to us of how much our supporters pray for us and how we need their continued prayers and encouragement.
Josh Fortune spoke on the words of 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 and verse 58:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.1 Corinthians 15:58 (ESV)
It was a call to arms and to persevere in the work that the Lord has given us to do and to be heartened because work done for Him is never in vain. All that remained was for all to gather for a delicious tea of sandwiches and cakes and to take the opportunity to renew old friendships, reminisce on past years and events and to look forward to the coming year.