Last Friday evening (30 September), people gathered in Thameside 2 (the seminar room next to the main theatre) for an informal time of thanksgiving for all that had taken place the previous weekend at the Civic Hall.
Around thirty people attended, among them some who had come to faith at the Rock Thurrock events under the ministry
After Transformation Thurrock’s Tim Harrold’s introduction, there was a time of worship led by Neil & Laura Frost (right). During this time Psalm 24 was read out.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Saviour.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory.
Leader of the Rock Thurrock Core team, Colin Baker (left), began an illustrated lecture telling the story of Rock Thurrock from its origins in May 2010 and the God-induced lingerings of a certain Edwin Hughes (below right) by the BGEA stall at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Esher and a subsequent meeting of interested parties at West Thurrock Retail Park’s Costa.
Colin descibed Edwin as having a ‘steely determination’ in pursuing the Rock Thurrock vision and seeing it come to pass. Edwin himself told everyone that Rock Thurrock was itself the confirmation of a vision he’d had at Soul Survivor in 2009 for a movement of young people rising across Thurrock.
Colin talked about unity, geography and prayer, and that single belief across the borough that God was going to do something. The launch breakfast back in early March typified this sense, with some 30 churches represented by 130 people, and Rock Thurrock’s endorsement by GDOP London’s Jonathan Oloyede. Colin remembered being in tears as one of the young people got up and made a speech.
This was all eventually borne out by the statistics of the Rock Thurrock weekend when around 270 under 18s responded to Will Graham and Lindz of LZ7’s message. Tim pointed out that there was a point in the whole process that was pivotal in obtaining confirmation from God – the Thurrock core team asked the BGEA, “Are you too big to do the small thing?”
Well, they did the ‘small thing’ – that is, a small English venue rather than a huge US stadium – and it turned out to be bigger than they could imagine, in the same way that CS Lewis described heaven as being like an onion that gets bigger every time you peel off a layer. This is because the percentage of response was over double than what they would usually expect from a stadium-based outreach, which usually reaps 3-8%. Rock Thurrock, over the three nights, was a 16% response.
Andy Blakey (left) then told two stories. At an Alpha Course which started on Monday 26 September, that had nine young people on it, two young people who came forward at Saturday’s Rock Thurrock event decided to go and took a friend with them.
Another young lady, who comes from a family where her dad is quite anti-Christian, came home and announced that she had become a Christian at Rock Thurrock. Dad told her not to be stupid and so on, but she told him it didn’t matter what he thinks, “I have become a Christian! Apparently her bedroom walls are cover with Rock Thurrock posters and memorabilia.
Colin continued the story with more slides of the various stages of the project, leading right up to the miracle that was the Christian Life & Witness Course, with almost 600 signing up for it from some 40 churches, and the intentional decision to have it hosted by four churches of different kinds around the borough. It was this response that led CLWC teacher from the BGEA, Gary Cobb, to suggest that we hold a third night, which became the Celebration of Hope.
Then there were the Community Action Projects, FM419, and the Rock Thurrock stall at Carry The Torch at Wembley Stadium, where Colin, Frank Gaise and Tim got to meet Will Graham fresh from promoting the Rock Thurrock to all 1000 assembled leaders and intercessors.
After this, there were the visits of band LZ7 and the Emerging Evangelist Institute to local secondary schools and markets in the week leading up to Rock Thurrock.
As Fresh Hope Community’s Janet Dipper (on the extreme right in the picture to the right) entered the Civic Hall for the Celebration of Hope, she reportedly exclaimed, “Is this answered prayer, or is this answered prayer?”!
We heard how one of the girls from Beautiful Remnant was outside the venue urging young people to come into Rock Thurrock, and how members of Empire Nation helped to pack away – and how the duty manager of the Civic Hall that weekend had commented that Rock Thurrock was the best organised and highest quality music event he’d ever seen there.
At various points throughout the story, everyone broke into small groups (above right) to give thanks to God and also to pray for the outcomes of the various stages of the project – for the unity to stick; for the adults and young people who came forward to become disciples of Christ; for the blessings that have flowed from obedience to continue in the future as a unified strategy develops across the borough.
Finally, the Rock Thurrock core team wants to thank Temi Fawehinmi (right) of New Covenant Chafford Hundred (who meet at the Stanley Lazell Hall in Dell Road, Grays) for organising the venue and the food – which included an enormous cake! And on the cake was written in icing, “Rejoice, the Lord reigns and Thurrock Rocks”!
And so the evening concluded with a small celebratory feast in which much cake and many sandwiches were eaten.
It amused everyone at this event that in a good number of the many pictures shown, Rosemary Pritchard’s face kept popping up. Even when the picture was of the Rock Thurrock crowd from the back of the auditorium, there was Rosemary’s face in plain view! And so, like Where’s Wally?, somewhere, she’s on this page – because SHE WAS THERE!