Sep | 26 | Mon | The City of GLOUCESTER | SUPRISES IN THE SUNDAY SCHOOL DEPARTEMENT


PRAYER REQUESTS |

  • Ask | For God’s richest blessing on The city of Gloucester and its Mayor, Andy. super bloke
  • Thanks | For having a Bed to stay in last night
  • I am inWORCESTER So please pray for Divine appointments please…….and of course for PROVISION. THIS IS A BIG ISSUE.

PROCLAMATION LOCATIONS & NEEDS |

  • TOMORROW’S MESSAGE | is ROOTED IN the book of | JOB |
  • I WILL BE IN THE CITY OFHERERFORD| PROCLAIMING AT: I DON’T KNOW |CAN YOU MAYBE HOOK ME UP SOMEWHERE PLEASE! | 07975 805 323
  • IS ACCOMMODATION NEEDED FOR TONIGHT? | YES PLEASE!
  • IF YOU CAN HOOK ME UP WITH SOMEONE OR SPONSOR A BED AND BREAKFAST? THAT WOULD BE GREAT) |
  • THE DAY AFTER’S MESSAGE | is ROOTED IN the book of | PSALMS |
  • IN THE CITY OF NEWPORT| PROCLAIMING WHERE :I DON’T KNOW |CAN YOU MAYBE HOOK ME UP SOMEWHERE PLEASE! | 07975 805 323
  • IS ACCOMMODATION NEEDED? | YES PLEASE!
  • IF YOU CAN HOOK ME UP WITH SOMEONE OR SPONSOR A BED AND BREAKFAST THEN THAT WOULD BE GREAT)

See my Full 66 City Tour List by Clicking HERE

I slept until 7:00am this morning. It was nice. I got up and then typed up the remainder of the blog and went down to breakfast at 9:00am.The sun was out, and the usual full English was just what the doctor ordered, lovely. I collected my washing which Sue the landlady had so kindly dried and folded for me , loaded up and left and then very quickly got lost!

To be sure, Gloucester was just down the road, but my Sat Nav battery had run out and I had failed to charge it up in the back of the car. I do so wish I had the time to get the front charging unit checked out. I really need to get this done.

So anyhoo, I see this young guy by a bus stop speaking to someone on his mobile, and I stop the car and shout across if he knows the way to Gloucester City Centre? He does and promptly comes over, taking charge of the middle of the road, and communicates to me in an unmistakable South African accent the necessary directions. I meet so many South Africans in the South of the Country, that reckon there are no South Africans left in South Africa! He can see I am an old fart struggling to take it all in, so he says, “look I am going into the City, why not give me a lift and I can guide you in?”

Thank You Jesus

So in he gets and he diredcts and I talk. He is a young professional Cricketer, wanting live in and play for England. “Does South Africa actually play cricket?” I ask him. He is gracious in his answer. This is in fact Neville Talbot, a tall batting all-rounder who has excelled through the KwaZulu-Natal age-groups and was involved with the Dolphins Academy over there and who at a very early age, received full bursaries to various high schools to be eventually awarded the ‘Sportsman of the Year’! He is apparently, a ‘hard-hitting batting all-rounder who returned to the UK in an Ancestry Visa and now is hoping to stay and play for England.’ Neville told me he was a Christian and gladly gave me an interview. I had a message for him from God, and that is between Him and God! I prayed for him that he would get his heart’s desire of a Visa and a place on the best cricket team in the world, apparently made the best, according to Neville, because it already has 5 South Africans on the team! You never know who you are gonna pick up on the side of the road.

I park the car in the Kings Walk car park, and start making calls.

  • I leave a message with the Deans PA, but she and the communications officer are in a meeting. They never get back to me.
  • I ring the BBC and hope to get on ‘Drive time’ in the Evening. They never get back to me.
  • I ring churches in Gloucester and the Rainbow Red Wedge Group of churches ( no really) and the number is 4 years out of date. Even so it gets me through to an interesting Curate called Andy who I arrange to meet up with.
  • I ring the Principles PA of Redcliffe college (http://www.redcliffe.org/Aboutus/Ourhistory) and DESPITE it being the very first day of term, Rob Hay agrees to meet me at 2:30.
  • I ring the Mayors PA and the Mayor also agrees to meet me in his Parlour at 4:30pm.

I put £2.00 in the metre and head out to see Andy the Curate. Andy is a Curate with a conscience. I don’t know what he calls himself but I would call him a spiritual social activist. Recently he has been campaigning to keep his local library open (being close in Govt cutbacks) where they held a sit in, nailed books to a cross and sang the old negro spiritual “Where you there when they crucified my library?” They then named the names of all the protagonists in this social literary sacrificial event. Andy did a great interview for me where his evident love for his city and community came across. Yesterday I castigated others for their poor use of the video Camera, today I castigate myself, ( a bit like Origen) for I failed to record the interview. Yes, I pointed the camera and forgot to press the button. Plonka!

I drive back to Kings Walk Car Park and re-park the car. Grab my bag and make my way to look for a preaching spot, Café Neros for my daily American and a pray in the Cathedral.
On the way to the Cathedral I notice in the maim shopping centre, just up from Marks & Spencers, that the door to an old church is open. The church is empty except for an older gentleman who is about to tuck into his packed lunch.

I walk in and ask if it is OK to look around. What I really want to know is if he knows where I can find the house which Robert Raikes was born in?

Now, though teaching Bible reading and basic skills on a Sunday was an established activity in a number of eighteenth century Puritan and evangelical congregations, it is Robert Raikes who is regarded as the founder of the Sunday Schools movement, using his position as editor and proprietor of the Gloucester Journal to publicize the cause. Eventually these Sunday schools and associated chapel and church communities became crucial working class institutions and centres for mutual aid and association. They had far reaching effects and by 1831, Sunday schools in Great Britain were teaching 1,250,000 children a week, that’s approximately 25 percent of the population! As these schools preceded the first state funding of schools for the general public, they are seen as the forerunners of the current English school system. Amazing! And all this started because Robert was simply fed up with the ignorant little ‘oiks’ running wild on a Sunday when he wanted some peace and quiet! His news paper financed it for the first three years and by then, the model was being taken up by many religious organisations. “Sure I know where he was born,” said Richard the guide, “but if you look over there I will show you where he is buried.”

“Hey? Raikes his buried here?” And the guide shows me a plastic cloth covered table with a tea urn next to it and there behind the table, under the slab on the floor, is where the remains of Raikes are rotting away quite nicely. I remember that John Knox is buried underneath a car park in Edinburgh.

“Oh and this is also the font is where Raikes was baptised” Says the Richard the guide. I touch the font. Well, you would wouldn’t you. “And of course as a baby, Whitfield was also baptised in the same font as well”

“WHITFIELD!” says I

“Oh yes and of course this pulpit over here is where he preached his first sermon after his ordination, and over there in the corner is the door to the room where Whitfield was taught as a child. Oh yes, it was from this church that Wesley persuaded Whitfield to go to Savannah in Mission”
“WHITFIELD!” I say again

“Oh yes. He was born around the corner. Marks and Spencers is there now”

“WHITFIELD!”

He can see I am excited and he takes and shows me the school room (which is having the floor boards ripped up) where a depiction of the young Whitfield in America is hung up on the wall. Dr Squint’s Boz-eyed pictures are everywhere and none of them are hung up. They even have a pciture of Whitefields portable pulpit

I am in St Mary De Crypt church in Gloucester. Another woman, the Revd Cannon Nikky Arthy is responsible for this consecrated but congregation-less church (it’s in the middle of the Blinkin shopping centre! What!!! I could pack this place out!) So I ring her to get permission to use the Pulpit. It is her day off, and so I ring Rev Rosie Woodall who gives me permission. Absolutely no offence, but the Anglican church and all our churches are increasingly run and attended to mostly by women! Let me say right now, that I am very thankful to Rev Rosie for allowing me access to film in this pulpit. Just wonderful. But Like it or not, the more that the vicars if Dibley take hold, the less chance you will ever have of men coming along to church.

So anyway, I arrange with the guide to film me and rush back to the car park to get the Camera which I have left in the car! I come back, flustered because time is going and speak for just a few minutes from a wee massage rooted on the 16TH Book of Nehemiah for the 16th City. I fluff the message and say it’s the 15th city. I double fluff it and say the Romans founded Gloucester 1,000 instead of 2,000 years ago. Sigh…

My excitement is posted on facebook. I user comments a saying “Whitefield just nudged John Wesley in heaven and said ‘first he preached in your pulpit, and now mine, who does this young upstart think he is..?” I reply that “when they preached the world was changed. When I preached the battery went down on my video recorder!”

My time has run out. I donlt even get an Americano in Neros today nor di I get anywhere near the Cathedral. I have to get back to the car and get over to Redcliffe College.

I do not have time to visit the site of the Martyrdom of Bishop John Hooper the second bishop of Gloucester who was born in 1495 in Somerset. After finishing his education at Merton College Oxford, he was believed to have become a monk at Cleeve and then a Friar at Blackfriars Gloucester. After the dissolution of the monasteries he returned to Oxford where he became influenced by the Protestant reformers Bullinger and Zwingli. His outspoken criticism of Church practices ultimately got him burned at the Stake. When they martyred him, the fire went out 3 times as the reeds and wood were damp. Imagine that. An eye witness account records : ….”but when he was black in the mouth and his tongue swollen that he could not speak, yet his lips went until they were shrunk to the gums, and he knocked his breast with his hands until one of his arms fell off, and then knocked still with the other, what time the fat, water and blood, dropped at his finger ends, until by renewing of the fire his strength was gone and his hand did cleave fast in knocking on the iron upon his breast. So, immediately bowing forwards he yielded up his spirit .”

His last letter is here

I arrive just in time for my interview with Rob Hay.

Rob is the most positive Christian I have met thus far and he raises lots of issues. He tries to hook me up with a guy who has started a Street church, but he is going out of town. He tells me that they are doing some special Pentecost celebrations next year and if this ties in with our next tour then he would like to talk to me about it. He tells me that it is here, in Gloucester, that Christianity is first found to have come to these Islands! Amazing! Maybe next time we could finish the tour in Gloucester? Why not! We pray together and I make my way over to the furthest inland docks in the UK and the council offices to meet Mr Mayor.

I arrive 45 minutes before I need to and wander around the beautifully converted Quays to a coffee shop and have black coffee with a toasted Brie and Cranberry Sandwich. I talk to a lady owner of an old people’s home. She is a non practicing Roman Catholic ( me too! ) and tells me that the local Methodist church has adopted their home and each month comes and takes a service for the over 90’s. “These people have such confidence and faith!” She says “you can see it. I envy people with faith. “ I share my story, we agree that England has gone forever and she leaves. The Mayor waiteth.

Mr Mayor, Andy, is one of the nicest blokes I have met. He is a ‘Flat Cap’ kind of guy running his own business and being mayor in his ‘spare’ time. He works 90 hours a week. He loves his city and is completely dedicated to his calling, I am overwhelmed by his civic commitment. It is exemplary. I get a mug of tea and get shown around the treasure house of the Mayors Parlour and offices. I ask for the opportunity to speak to the town planning meeting tonight, but he cannot authorise it. Even so, what a privilege to have been with Andy today. I ask Mr Mayor what I can pray for him and he says “Pray for my city”. How about that! So we bow our heads and I pray for a blessing on Gloucester, a city where I recently been very welcomed and blessed myself.

The King James Bible given to the City by the Monarchy, stands in his office, overlooking the Quays.


Its time for me to move on to Worcester. I arrange a room from the links Bridget sent me yesterday. The reviews look OK, but on arrival it is not too good. It’s been closed for 18 months, there is no breakfast and bunch of travelling workers are in process of getting pissed up. It might be a noisy night.

I am troubled by the sense that I may have missed something in Gloucester. I think God wanted me to stop for something else. I wanted bed. Yes, I think I have missed a blessing. Bugger. Lord forgive me.
I ring Bridget, plug my stuff in for a charge, answer some emails, edit the book of Job for SORTED magazine, and then put my head to bed.

What will tomorrow bring?

If You Want to see The First Twelve of Our 66 Minute Video Bible Check Here | P.S. We need some more funding ti finish this project before Christmas so if you are up for it give me a call on 07975 805 323

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About vrfarrell

Biblical activist
This entry was posted in 16 of 66 | GLOUCESTER. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sep | 26 | Mon | The City of GLOUCESTER | SUPRISES IN THE SUNDAY SCHOOL DEPARTEMENT

  1. jabulani9 says:

    Imagine that … another lovely Saffa… 🙂

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