It’s Sunday morning around 10.45 and I’m standing on the streets of Peterborough with an amazing bunch of willing volunteers from Bretton Baptist Church. We start by having a bit of a holy huddle as I brief the team as to what we shall be doing. I share that the objective is to remind people of the best dad they could have ever imagined or hoped for. To do this I’m giving the three pairs of helpers a basket full of mars and snickers bars a fistful of cards with a ‘prayer for dads’ and a tray full of bacon butties. Healthy.
We all hang out in the same area and by 11am we’re talking to people and making people smile as we offer gifts of a good old bacon butty with red or brown sauce freshly made by a local baker who we have ordered 35 from over the morning.
11.20 and the team are getting stuck in offering the gifts. One pair stand for sometime talking with a guy who needs someone to listen. I offer a pile of bacon butties to 5 lads from East Timor. We pray the blessing for dad’s over them. They seem chuffed to bits and each shakes our hands and says thank you.
11.30 the first batch of bacon rolls have gone, so we restock and keep on offering free gifts to people, ‘Happy Fathers Day’ we chime as we greet dad’s with an outstretched basket full of bars of chocolate.
11.45 I give a quick recky of my team who are all in some kind of conversations with people. One young man chats away with a team member who he met a few months back, also on Saints on the Street. Another helper is patiently listening to a story of heart-ache. Another is sitting with a lady from Pakistan who asks her to visit her in her home. Another is praying for lads who are desperately ill and in need of a miracle. One has liver disease.
12.15- 200 bars of manly chocolate have been given away and a pile of bacon butties. Our stocks have nearly run out. I stand in the street listening to a fascinating story of a man who is homeless and shares with me why he feels he’s not a very good dad. It seems as if our fun-filled Fathers day bonanza has got him thinking about what it means to be a dad.
12.30 All our goodies have been gratefully received and we’re having our debrief with a cuppa. Each one of us has a story to share of meeting a dad who was chuffed by our simple gesture.
1.15 I’ve just packed up and on my way to the Chaplaincy base with the pile of trays and displays. I’m stopped by a man who asks me why I’m so happy. This guy is a smiling Hara-Krishna and is standing in the streets giving away some booklets. We talk and talk some more… He explains that people in Peterborough don’t seem so open to spiritual things. I can’t help think about the positive conversations and people we have prayed with and wonder whether people perhaps aren’t so open to having a booklet thrust in their faces about something they can’t understand…
The goal of sharing something of the best dad ever seems to have connected with people, yes with our message but also with our gifts.