This years Redbridge Easter Festival was almost cancelled after Redbridge Council chose to permit a commercial market event in Ilford Town Centre on Easter Monday, over our annual Easter Parade and Festival.
This meant half the participating churches could not get involved in the reduced scale Easter event this year and BPCA had to tag our event onto the back of an event being run by Capstone Church who had booked for Saturday 31st March, from 12pm – 2pm. Their generosity meant a smattering of regular church participants were able to join us for a smaller concert event, but we had no market stalls, bouncy castle, and had to make obsolete for this year our many other attractions that helps galvanize support for our event and make them family friendly
The heavy rainfall prevented many shoppers entering the town centre so our attendance figures were down massively, a reduction that was no doubt influenced by the extremely late approval of our event which meant advertising was out of the question.
Even then the event was a great success and all the participating churches actively share the Gospel message of the death and resurrection of Christ with visitors to the event. The result of this was overwhelming as churches like High Road Baptist confirmed that several people gave their life to Christ and that their churches had a greater then average attendance on Easter Sunday, due to the awareness the event created for local churches.
There was singing and dancing in the streets from visitors to the town centre enthralled by the entertainment value of Christian Gospel music. The many different acts involved provided something to meet the ecclectic tastes of all who visited. Participants included:
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
“Despite horrible weather and almost no publicity for the event people of all diversities joined local churches in their revellery and danced to the beat of variant Christian music.
“Our praise and worship in Ilford’s streets was a joy to behold and people imbued the atmosphere and learnt much about the Christian faith. Attendants were very receptive to learning more about Christianity and if nothing else there willingness to listen meant that we were able to dispel many myths.
“We hope to return to Easter Monday next year which would enable us to return to the large-scale event local people have become used to over the last 7 years. We hope next year the council is more amiable and works with us on a street event that has an established history and reaches out to all people.”
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