The 16th Festival of Grace was held at St Peter’s Parish Church, Gaulby, in Leicestershire on Saturday 12 September.
Gaulby Reformed Evangelical Anglican Fellowship is one of the remaining Anglican churches in Leicestershire which still upholds the doctrines of the English Reformers, subscribes to the 39 Articles of the Church of England, and uses the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
The Festival was inaugurated by the late Rev. Ashley Cheesman, rector from 1988 until his death in 2010, and has become one of the most significant rural parish events in Leicestershire.
The event was blessed with a record attendance of around 80 folk, young and old. The speakers were introduced by Martin Hall, who opened in prayer.
The first presentation was by David Baynes, head teacher of Emmanuel Christian School, Leicester, who gave a history of the work since its inception in 2003.
The school started with eleven pupils in key stages one and two, and now has 45 pupils covering all four key stages. The first group of pupils took their GCSEs this year and gained many A and A*grades. They are now going on to further education.
Emmanuel Christian School gives praise to God for the way he has guided and provided for the school, pupils and staff over the years, and trusts him for the future.
Our second speaker Andrea Williams, founder and director of Christian Concern, began by giving her testimony. She explained how, after becoming a barrister, people came to her for help over such issues as losing employment due to Christian belief and Christian Unions coming under threat in universities. From those beginnings Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre were born.
Difficulties and grace
She reminded us of the rejection of God-given values that has taken place in society over the past 60 years: abortion made legal, divorce commonplace, co-habitation acceptable, embryology experimentation lawful (including cloning and animal/human hybridisation), and, of course, same-sex marriage. As believers we were urged to be vocal and courageous in speaking out against unbiblical changes to the law.
The final speaker was Rev. Richard Brooks, preacher, author and the former minister of Dales Evangelical Church in Matlock, Derbyshire, prior to retirement.
Mr Brooks gave a clear and appropriate presentation, from John 1:16, of the ‘grace upon grace’ which our Lord provides for his people: pardoning grace, upholding grace, sanctifying grace, interceding grace, restoring grace, consoling grace, enabling grace, soul-satisfying grace, persevering grace and dying grace.
The message included a clear and passionate presentation of the gospel to those who do not at present know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
During the day we were reminded of the difficulties which Christians and Christian organisations face from an increasingly godless society. However, we were inspired by the fact that, despite difficulties and setbacks, God is working out his purposes to bless his people as they endeavour to remain faithful.
The event concluded with a time of fellowship, shared over a delicious buffet tea, when those present were able to meet old friends and make new ones. We left with renewed motivation to be faithful servants of our Saviour and look forward to meeting again on 10 September 2016.