Partying at Pentecost with puddings and Pimms

Published on: 1 March 2018

Rachel Seabrook tells us about St Edmunds’ annual Pentecost Puddings and Pimm’s event and what effect is has on the community.

It has often been said that church with cake is better than church without cake! I think many of us would agree. Food is very often associated with celebration and with this in mind, 11 years ago we held our first Pentecost Puddings and Pimm’s party in The Rectory garden at Taverham. Little did we realise that it would become an annual event, maybe even a tradition.

Over the years we have partied in sunshine and blistering heat, showery weather where we have seen a host of colourful umbrellas and torrential rain where the only place left to sit indoors was on the stairs. We are a hardy lot and will do anything for a bowl or three of delicious puddings!

Getting together to share food is always great but there is also something quite significant about doing it at Pentecost. We are celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church. Our church Puddings and Pimm’s parties have been a great way for us to get together and enjoy one another’s company – to BE church. It’s also been a great event to invite those who might not normally come to church.

We always finish with a time of informal prayer and praise. This is not to say that we move from socialising to worship. All of it, puddings, Pimm’s, various other drinks, garden games, catching up with people we haven’t seen for a while, praying and praising are all part of our life together in Jesus and part of our celebration that God is good and has sent the Holy Spirit and given us each other.

The church can often be seen as something that is very serious, a bit ‘otherworldly’ and prayer as something only ‘done’ by those who are very holy or those in desperate need of a quick miracle rather than prayer being about relationship.

During Lent and Holy Week we have travelled a solemn journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and the cross. We have rejoiced at the resurrection and the Christian hope of new life and transformation and finally we reach Pentecost and celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The Psalms also reflect times of solemnity, rejoicing and celebration along with just about every other human emotion. I am greatly encouraged by this! It gives permission and freedom to come before God just as I am, without fear of rejection or feeling that I shouldn’t bother God with my seemingly trivial concerns.

Prayer is a great gift but something we need to persevere at. Not always easy by any means, often frustrating but always a gift. No matter how I feel, no matter how bad or good things are, I celebrate that God does hear, does care and holds us all in love that will not let us go.

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