Praise for Celebrate Norfolk as thousands visit

2013: Several thousand people visited the Celebrate Norwich & Norfolk festival in Norwich city centre last weekend (June 7-9), which was praised by exhibitors, organisers and local dignitaries. Keith Morris reports.

Celebrate13Dancers450Bishop of Lynn, Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, opened the event by telling an audience of over 100 that: “We should rejoice in being a Christian church family, we should rejoice in our faith and we should rejoice in the call to unity which should be at the centre of our faith.”
Reaction from exhibitors and visitors was overwhelming positive. Tim Jenkins from OMF International, said: “This is the best exhibition I go to because I can engage with the general public.”
Alan Cutting, from Samaritan’s Purse, said: “I was really impressed with the atmosphere of the event, which seemed to reflect the positive state of the church in and around the city.  My aim was to meet key leader and activist people in the Norwich and Norfolk churches, and this aim was achieved pretty well and has given me some great follow-up opportunities.”
David Lucas, from United Christian Broadcasters, said: “Meeting so many people, both Christian and seekers, has been a wonderful opportunity. There have been some very positive contacts made, including churches taking and ordering multiple copies of our booklets. The awareness of UCB that has been reached through this event is considerable.  The Forum is an excellent venue that is certainly and clearly popular with the general public and it has been a pleasure to be in the city of Norwich representing UCB.”
Carrie Sant, from City Saints in Action, said; “it was an excellent opportunity to network with other organisations and we had a few really good conversations with people not connected with the event.”
CelebrateBishop430The Norfolk Fresh Expressions team said: “Celebrate is an exciting opportunity for Christ’s church to work together and demonstrate all that God is calling us to... We are not a dead church in Norwich and Norfolk but very much alive – this is a great message to send out to the wider community.”  
The Good News stand and the Postal Bible School had a very profitable time over the weekend and have already booked for next year. “We had many challenging opportunities to present the Gospel and we gave away 200 of our evangelistic newspapers, a substantial amount of tracts and many starter packs from the Postal Bible School were taken,” they said.
Celebrate was visited by both Norwich Lord Mayor, Cllr Keith Driver, and Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who said: “The exhibition showed the drive and dedication which Christian charities and organisations commit to our city and its people.  I was glad to visit and meet constituents who work so hard for Norwich and Norfolk.”
Celebrate13JohnBetts450Celebrate project director, John Betts, said: “The growth and development of Celebrate this year was a great encouragement. A diverse range of people and organisations, both national and local, have perceived the opportunity which Celebrate offers for them to showcase their ministry. More organisations than ever participated this year and events took place in more venues than previously. My prayer is that over time we shall spread out across the city and county.
“Bringing so many churches, organisations, and Christian people together into the public arena is very important at a time when, on the one hand we are needed for the work we do but on the other hand the values we stand for are increasingly undervalued and are being undermined.
“Celebrate demonstrates that Christian unity is not a problem for the people of God when we come together outside of ecclesiastical structures. We all love the Lord and find it easy to work together for the sake of the kingdom of God. Ecumenism works when we come together to serve the Lord and minister to the needy,” said John. “We are moving forward in our understanding of where God is leading His church.”

The date for Celebrate Norwich and Norfolk 2014 is June 13 – 15.