The Five Hundred Pound Weekend
Saturday was manic. It’s usually my sermon-writing day, but it was the summer fayre at our daughter’s school. That clashed with with one of my churches running a family fun day themed on the new Prince Caspian film. (And by the way, if other churches are thinking of taking up this theme, Damaris have some useful resources.)
The school fayre seemed to go very well, and it relieved us of much cash in our three hours there.
The family fun day exceeded our expectations. All forty-five plastic toy swords that had been bought at Poundland went, the visiting magician went down well, kids enjoyed fancy dress (one had been in his costume since 6 a.m.) and they loved the arts and crafts and, naturally, the barbecue.
Best of all, people couldn’t believe we’d put it on for free and didn’t want a penny. That was always our intention, but it was made possible by an anonymous donation of five hundred pounds from someone in the church who wanted to ensure that everything was provided free, gratis and otherwise at no charge. I had the privilege of telling the assembled families at the end of the magic show that we weren’t asking for donations, because we believed in a God who offered his love free, with no strings attached.
I finished yesterday’s sermon late at night, and then rushed to prepare a PowerPoint on Sunday for the morning service. It was a service of prayer for healing. We invite people to receive a quiet laying on of hands with anointing oil, and while they are being prayed for, the congregation participates in intercession, and we put the usual intercession topics up on the screen.
Not only that, we were dedicating some new song books. One of our ninety-something members had died a couple of months ago, and nearly five hundreed pounds had been given in her memory. In view of the decades she had spent worshipping God in Broomfield, one of her sons requested we update some of our worship material. So we had replaced our battered old 1990 editions of Mission Praise with the most recent (2005) edition. The stewards gave these out at the beginning of the service, and one of the lady’s grandsons played the organ.
We were introducing two songs that might have been new to the congregation, in preparation for the forthcoming Chelmsford Christian Festival. It had seemed best to have CDs available to play over the PA, rather than play them on organ or piano. Half way to church, I realised I’d left the CDs at home. I only got to church ten minutes before the service, hardly ideal, and discovered then that the grandson was willing to play both! He was excellent, I must say.
That evening, I came back from a quarterly ecumenical service in Hatfield Peverel for an exciting climax to the weekend. No, I don’t mean Spain’s thoroughly deserved victory over a moribund Germany in the final of Euro 2008, I mean something else …
This too involves a death. One of our Hatfield Peverel members died last August. I had only known him as an Alzheimer’s Disease sufferer, but before that cruel illness had struck, he had been a talented pianist. When he went to glory, his widow (who has herself since passed away) gave the church £5000 in his memory. With her blessing, we replaced our ailing baby grand piano with a Clavinova. (And we also had a Hammond organ – though sadly not a B3!)
But the problem was what to do with the now unwanted Chappell Baby Grand? We called on the expert opinions of piano specialists from local music shops. Nobody was that keen to relieve us of it. At the Church Council, I offered to auction it on eBay. Being the only person in that small church with an eBay seller account, and also enjoying playing with my digital SLR camera, I listed it. Last Thursday week, I uploaded the listing for a ten-day auction. It was scheduled to end at 10:20 pm yesterday.
So it was that I sat at the screen last night with some supper, regularly hitting F5 on the keyboard to refresh the page. I had been looking regularly during the ten days. Well over five hundred people viewed it. Forty or so ‘watched’ the piano. Half a dozen folk asked questions, most of which I referred to my musicians at the church, since I am not a muso.
On Saturday morning, it looked like it was all going wrong. Bids had suddenly jumped overnight from £51.00 to £222.52, and this having started the auction at 99p. However, I looked at the feedback record for the woman in pole position, and found that three times out of four in the last year she had failed to pay for auctions she had won. I cancelled her bids, and banned her from ever bidding on anything I sell. Back to £51, then. That guy must have been pleased: his maximum bid was £200.00.
Seasoned eBayers will know, though, that most of the action happens near the end. In the last twenty minutes of the auction, it took off. £155, £165, £222.52 – that figure again – I hurriedly checked the record of the bidder! Until finally, the piano sold for five hundred and ten of our finest
English British pounds. If you don’t believe me, click here. The winner was a lady from Staffordshire who had not asked any questions, and like everyone else bidding, had not seen the instrument, even though I had offered in my item description to arrange viewings. It’s a long way and a lot of money. And within ten minutes of the auction finishing, she had paid me via PayPal.
What an end to a frantic weekend! That kind of money will make a difference to our little chapel.Technorati Tags: PrinceCaspian, Damaris, Poundland, healing, MissionPraise, re:fresh08, ChelmsfordChristianFestival, HatfieldPeverel, eBay, piano