A Journey with God was the title and theme of our celebration weekend as Bethel URC and Sketty Methodist formally became Uniting Church Sketty. After many years of working closely together and after one year of worshipping together, the weekend celebrated the formal coming together of what we have been in our hearts for some time and launched Uniting Church Sketty.
The flower festival, with different scenes from the Bible allowed people to reflect on their own journey with God. Hundreds of visitors came and gazed at the beautiful displays, drank tea and coffee and partook of delicious home-made cakes. Each one passed through the display at the entrance to the church – an archway with carnations going up one side, roses going up the other to symbolise the two churches – and meeting in the middle in a heart shape with the flowers now intermingled. A moving and symbolic arrangement saying all that needed to be said.
Uniting Church Sketty was packed!
The church was packed with church family, with friends from around the Methodist Circuit and the URC region, with past ministers from both churches and with clergy from other churches in Sketty.
Rev Stephen Wigley represented the Methodist denomination and Rev Sally Thomas represented the URC denomination. We gave thanks for all that is past, as we reflected on the origins of both churches and we put our trust in God for all that is to come, as we shared the new vision statement of the church, developed in the Lent Faith and Fellowship groups – Uniting together, Caring for all, Seeking God.
Then the congregation was treated to something a bit different: our very own ‘Happy’ video which used the music from the very popular Pharrell Williams song Happy, and video clips of the church congregation and all the different groups that use the church. It reminded us how happy we are to come together. Then, before the Constitution was officially signed, the congregation took part in an Act of Commitment as we each committed ourselves to journey into the future with God.
The celebrations continued all day Sunday as well. The morning service included cutting a celebration cake (which we shared after the service), making a gigantic jigsaw of our new Uniting Church Sketty logo and sharing communion together. It culminated in writing our names on a friendship bracelet each and then exchanging these with others in the service. Although the 130 friendship bracelets wasn’t quite enough for the whole congregation, nevertheless wonderful chaos ensued as we swapped our bracelets in the last hymn. Each person went home with another’s bracelet and committed to pray for that person – reminding us finally that we are all one in Christ.
We thank God for the wonderful weekend and trust that it is in fact, only the beginning!