Sunday 21st July 2019 was a special Celebration Service at PEFC. It was the last service before the school summer holidays and served as a great opportunity to reflect on the past year together. It also marked the second anniversary since Graham King answered the call to become our Pastor at Peacehaven Evangelical Free Church.
We had a full house and you could sense the expectation as we opened to Luke 5: 1-13. In this exciting passage from the New Testament, Luke writes about the people gathered by the Sea of Galilee to hear The Word of God. Two thousand years later, we were all gathered at PEFC to do exactly the same. What wonderful fellowship! Luke records how Jesus invited the fishermen to cast their nets into the lake. Even though the nets had been empty overnight and even though the fishermen, no doubt, thought Jesus didn’t know as much as they did about fishing and about the lake, Simon Peter nevertheless did as Jesus asked. And suddenly the nets were full to bursting with fish. So many fish, in fact, that could only be explained by a miracle.
The story of the fishing nets is an exciting one because it speaks to us of the work of God and the opportunities of faith. Earlier in the service there was a time for testimonies and different people stood to reflect on the last 2 years, God’s work and answers prayer. After the service, photos were taken of all of us sitting in the Church and then squeezing together to fill the aisle. We then went outside to stand under the PEFC sign at the front of the Church. There were so many smiling faces gathered that, to fit them all in, our photographer had to cross the busy South Coast Road. As we waited around and moved to be in the frame, several car drivers sounded their horns as they passed by. This reminded me of the Psalms where the horn is used as a symbol of strength. Maybe we looked like a wedding party posing for photographs. In a way this was true; we as the Church are in a very real and personal relationship with God, just like a marriage.
After the photos, we went inside for the Fellowship Lunch in the hall. When we had set up the room the evening before, just like the fishing nets overnight, the food tables were empty. When we called to take our seats in the hall, the serving tables were groaning under the weight of so much food. A miracle of love, like the filling of the fishing nets. Following an introduction and a prayer, around 90 people sat down to enjoy the lunch. This was followed by some more very personal testimonies, many of which were about the journey, both physical and spiritual, that Graham and his family had made to come to England and to PEFC. After the lunch and the testimonies, we were filled with the wonderful food and with the Holy Spirit. This had really been an amazing day of family fellowship, photos and food.
Matt Ebeling July 2019