“Collins bags a hat-trick as five star Luton destroy Plymouth” ~ “Plymouth Argyle thrashed 5-1 by rampant Luton Town after defensive shocker” ~ “Striker James Collins netted a hat-trick as Luton hammered Plymouth“…
Yes, it was all happening in Luton this past weekend, starting on Saturday afternoon as Luton Town Football Club ‘destroyed’, ‘hammered’ and ‘thrashed’ poor old Plymouth Argyle in League One, the third tier of the English Football League, by 5 goals to 1. Five-One! Incredible. There were so many goals, it was impossible to get bored. Never a dull moment in the whole match. And as 4 of the goals came in the first half, and as we were sitting near that goal, wow, we had a great view. It was all non-stop action. What a game. What a day! It all went Luton’s way. And I was there to see it all, along with a huge crowd of 10,000+ others. My first ever game of Professional Football too. Yippee! A fine start to my CMS Link Visit to All Saints with St. Peter, Luton, Beds – about 50 km NW of London in the Diocese of St. Albans.
All Saints Church is in Bury Park, Luton, and in the same parish is Kenilworth Road, the home ground of Luton Town FC. The vicar of All Saints, Rev. David Kesterton, is also the chaplain to Luton Town FC ~ the team is nicknamed ‘The Hatters’. He likes to go along to all the home games, where possible, and he kindly invited me to go with him this past Saturday. YES please!
And so it was that I was there to witness the best result in the whole of League One this past Saturday, a huge win of 5-1. Everyone told me afterwards that when Luton wins, the whole atmosphere of the town is changed, everyone is happy, smiling away. It’s true, I know, I saw them all at the beetle drive on Saturday night and on Sunday at the church services at All Saints (see photo below) and then at St. Peter’s. There was definitely a really positive feeling, having won the day before. And not just won, it was a massive five-one!
Yes, the Saturday night beetle drive in the All Saints church hall was great. It was in aid of the guides, who are planning a trip to Switzerland. Most of the girls come from the Muslim community, and it was good to take part. The food was yummy and I learned how to play a fast-paced beetle game. It was almost as fast as Luton Town plays football! I met Nicholas, originally from Spain, who knew everything possible about Taiwan’s history. He even came to church on the Sunday to hear my sermon. In fact quite a few people came forward to share their knowledge about Taiwan, I was most impressed. These are some of my good friends!
On Sunday I spoke at the 9:30 am service at All Saints. I have been linked with this parish for years and years; my previous visit to them was in January 2015 (see that blog post here), and if you compare the then-and-now photos, you’ll see that nobody seems to have changed at all ~ still all lovely and smiling away. These were taken at the Sunday service….
I also visited St. Peter’s Church to speak at their 11:15 am service, and later to attend their Godly Play / Messy Church event in the afternoon. I watched Jo, the curate, telling the parable of the Good Shepherd, and learned so much. Really inspiring.
The 2 clergy, David and Jo are amazing. They get on really well with everyone, of whatever background, and are very committed to finding new ways to reach out to people from all communities in this very multicultural and multi-faith area of Luton. David’s wife Susan was in non-stop action all weekend too and so hospitable, and the vicarage dog was delightful and very friendly. I stayed at the vicarage with the family, and had a great time, learning so much about the area and all that’s going on. I presented David and Jo with an artillery shell cross each, most appropriate as they and the church congregation seek to be peacemakers in this very diverse and challenging parish.
And I must mention the lovely couple in the photos below, Ronald – aged 81, and Pauline – aged 74, who are getting married at All Saints this Wednesday. Here they are ~ bless ’em, and do pray for them!
Thank you to David & Susan and family, Jo, the church leaders and congregation members, beetle-players, guides and all who made this weekend so special. Some of these people I have known since 1989, when a group of us from Heighington, Co. Durham first visited All Saints in a north-south / rural-urban link established through the former rector of All Saints, Rev. Sam Prasadam. I’ve been visiting ever since. It’s wonderful to keep the CMS link going until now, and so much fun that I could also attend the Luton Town match. Thanks be to God for a great weekend and this wonderful community of faithful Christians.
Go The Hatters! Go Luton! Go All Saints! Go St. Peter’s! Yes, it’s all go go go in Bury Park, Luton!