We had sad news at the end of last year because our dear friend Patricia Guest died. She had been with us for over 2 years, was a real praying lady, and had taught us much about the Jewish roots of Christianity having been to Israel eleven times. However, Patricia had requested that a praise party be held lifting up the Name of Jesus. Her Pastor Martin and Emma the Salvation Army leader had agreed to do this, but it was handed to the dance group to organise and we had an amazing time on Saturday, 31st January. We did some dances to Paul Wilbur’s ‘Up to Zion’ and decorated the Salvation Army Citadel with satin drapes and a throne. John and Sharron Shellswell represented the Bride and Bridegroom as we rejoiced to ‘Let us rejoice and be glad’. We believed that Patricia was there in the presence of her Saviour in the Throne Room. Shena joined us from Swindon and for the Finale danced with flags to Mat Redman’s ‘Endless Hallelujahs’. Through Patricia’s request, the local churches, Precept bible study group and her friends had come together. Amazingly, I met Sara, a friend from Patricia’s Madeira days, at Vera’s workshop in London. She did not know about her death, but was able to come to Stroud and speak a little about her time with Patricia in Madeira and dance with us.
Roy Ballard led the worship with musicians and singers from Stroud Christian Fellowship. Emma led the meeting and provided a bountiful feast for all to enjoy.
On Saturday, 7th February we were invited to take a workshop at Stonehouse Baptist Church. There were 7 from the dance group and I wasn’t expecting many more, but in the end there were over 20 of us, including one lady in a wheelchair. It was such a happy time as people started to dance for the first time ever and become more free. But it was rather chaotic at times. I shall always remember the little group of 4 men in the centre with their arms stretched out around each other’s backs as they attempted Hava Nagila!!
On Wednesday, 18th February, Emma, the Salvation Army leader, invited Shena and me to take a Kid’s flag-making and dance workshop during half-term. There were over 20 children. It was extremely hectic, but we had a wonderful time and apart from seeing the children entering into everything so fully, it was clear that the parents who stayed also wanted to join in, including one Dad. Half way through we stopped for the children to colour in pictures with transfer crayons which Maggie and I then ironed onto the small satin flags I’d made. And guess what? The parents also wanted to make one! Once again, I am so indebted to Shena who came and helped to lead most of the dancing. Shena is so gifted to work with children. They all entered into her wonderful arrangements.
At the beginning of the year, I did wonder whether the dancing would continue so much as we lost several valued dancers last year, but these doors of opportunity were opened up to us and so it would seem that the Lord really does want His people to praise His Name with dancing. I am so grateful to God and to my supportive husband David and wonderful team of encouraging dancers that make up the Kingdom Family Dancers.