Joan Collin’s missed a great day!!


On Saturday 20th May, St. Luke’s, Kingston, held a May Merrie.  Not only was it an event to celebrate spring and renewal of life and community, but also an opportunity to raise some money for Shooting Star.  As many of you remember, May was a month of ‘April Showers’ and the day of the May Merrie was no exception!!  However, here in Kingston, living by the river, we are no strangers to a little water (although we do prefer it to gently flowing than intermittent showers) and we did not let the rain dampen our spirits.


Anyway, back to the May Merrie – it was held in the Vicarage gardens and was truly a community event.  In many ways, it was a very ‘English’ event, a rare opportunity to re-invent some of our best English heritage and fuse it with some of the energy of our urban living.  There was maypole dancing, face painting, a magician, a raffle, bbq sausages, wine, tea, cakes, delicious samosas and spicy sausage cakes, card making and more importantly there were old people, young people, children and youths – all enjoying themselves.


The maypole dancing was a ‘big hit’ with the children (and quite a few adults).  Basic instruction was given and then the children vibrantly danced round and round to the music, whilst plaiting the red, yellow and blue maypole streamers.  The children’s faces were all smiling, all giggling as they experienced dancing in the light rain. 


And what better way to relax after watching or participating in the dancing but to have a bbq sausage, of which 100 were consumed during the afternoon, and drink tea from some fine ‘vicarage’ china.


As always, the face painting proved popular and by the end of the afternoon there were many more butterflies, fairies, spidermen and tigers in the garden.


Just as we all thought it was time to pack up, listen to the raffle announcements and go home for a rest, there was the final surprise for the afternoon – a magican set up stage in the corner of the gardens and entertained us all, old and young alike, with card tricks, magic picture books and disappearing rings.


What was amazing and most unexpected about the afternoon was that it gave me a glimpse and an understanding of prayer.  I remembered how prayer could be described by using the word ACTS: Adoration, Contrition, Thankfulness and Supplication.  It was one of those afternoons when prayer were not words on a piece of paper, but were actions. And still more surprisingly, as actions they were both easier to understand but more difficult to comprehend.  As the children danced around the maypole, their joy and enthusiasm could be recognised as prayer to our God.  It was a prayer, where the children were both individually and corporately, unknowingly praying together though dance and freely giving a prayer of Adoration.  As I watched, being a willing witness, I realised I too was praying, a prayer of Thankfulness and glad gratitude for being a witness.  This feeling of Thankfulness was further enhanced by seeing them, faces in their multi-coloured paint, their concentration on the magic acts and their freedom playing together in the garden.  The children certainly knew how to pray and recognise gifts from God.


But what about the families and staff of the Shooting Star hospice, how can our enjoyment be a good thing?  I’m sure this type of question has been asked over the generations and I don’t know the answer, but we were an answer to their Supplication for funds.  The afternoon helped to raise just over £300.  I do not know how this translates into the expenditure that is required to keep the hospice open, but I would guess that it would help employ a nurse for a day 


So we hope and pray that our money will help to “enhance quality of life, when every moment counts”, as ours was enhanced by the May Merrie.  We thank God for letting us be celebrities for a day.


So as the event was in Eastertide, let me finish:

Thanks be to God, Alleluia, Alleluia

View the photographs here