Festival feel as local churches bring-on the summer fun at SPARK in the Park

There was plenty of fun in the sun to be had in Welling and Bexley, when SPARK in the Park returned for another year to bring a week of activities for children, teens and families.

The church run event has taken place in Danson Park each summer for the last 15 years and brings churches and the community together alike.

Kate Foot from St John’s Welling and a member of the SPARK in the Park team explained how it all came about:

“It all began when a small Evangelical Church in Welling approached a small Pentecostal Church and an Anglican Church, and some children’s and youth activities began in the local Danson Park.”

But as Kate explains, this simple idea has gone on to have big results:

“SPARK has resulted in transformation in all sorts of ways for thousands of people in Welling and Bexleyheath, and reaches out to people from Erith to Greenwich, from Gravesend to Essex and across the country with children travelling to spend a week with wider family and friends so they can attend SPARK.”

Bringing together over 100 volunteers, the local churches provide five afternoons of free activities, with a marquee full of imaginative craft, refreshments, face painting (180 faces a day!), an under 5’s play area, and a field full of sport, games and giant inflatables.

For half an hour, all meet together for a programme which contains a Bible story appropriately presented for Under 12’s, two songs with a live band, a competition and a gunging for a willing (unlucky) team member!

People from the ages of 14 upwards can be members of the SPARK team, with Kate explaining that the experience offers some of the ‘best training and ministry experience going, and it’s fun.’ Team members are cooked for and stay for evening activities.

With a hosting team to welcome and chat with guests and a prayer team willing to pray with anyone who asks - adult or child - Kate says that this year’s SPARK has been a huge success:

“We prayed with about 90 people this year, almost double last year, and the hosting team had far more conversations of a spiritual nature than ever before too.

With a great track record of joining the churches together – ‘once in a yellow shirt, nobody knows which church you’re from’ - and offering a great family-child-youth-community-friendly atmosphere, Kate says that SPARK is set to keep on going:

“God definitely inhabits the SPARK field for a week a year, and His presence is tangible.  We keep praying, and we see God move.  And there has been a steady trickle of people turning to and returning to Christ.”

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