Preparations for the big cycling week had begun months ahead on Harlow Hill as our community prepared to welcome the world! The church membership planned to fully embrace the event and saw it as an ideal opportunity to be a real Christian presence amongst locals and visitors alike. Church members were responsible for the many decorations along Harlow Hill – lattice ribbon work around trees and fences, Harlow Hill/Welcome and Yorkshire spelled out and flags all the way up the hill which stayed for the whole week of the event.
Leaflets and posters told everyone the times to watch the races on the hill and the plan was for the church to be open around these times serving refreshments – also providing a haven for visitors. The church became a hive of activity with a stained-glass window being created, Yorkshire jigsaws to try, and a book stall along with a craft stall selling limited edition pompoms which went down very well.
By the time the cycles arrived we were ready – the baking done and everyone keen to help. Although we are only a small church, we all pulled together to cover the event and it was absolutely fantastic – our members were described as joyous and welcoming, and we had many visitors who came in every day to enjoy the home made cakes, scones and biscuits, our own supplies added to by generous donations from other churches.
There was a real buzz of excitement along the hill and it was really wonderful to welcome so many visitors to our church from all over the world. Although the final day was by far the worst weather-wise, we saw record numbers of visitors in our building, and we managed to have both Sunday services and welcome visitors to these too.
Moses and the family joined us on this day, and we were indeed blessed with their presence -a perfect opportunity for Moses to make himself known amongst us! I have never seen so many people in our building at the same time, and we feel really positive that we can build on this fantastic event and are now looking to provide other opportunities to welcome others into our church. The stained- glass window is now hanging in pride of place in our church as a record of a truly momentous week.