DUNDEE INTERNATIONAL DAY
21st October 2018
The lyrics of the song 'There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole', was Pastor Paul Tompkins' opening quotation as he addressed the congregation in Dundee Church on Sabbath 20 October 2018 in celebrating Dundee International Day. Yes, a large congregation gathered to express themselves in colour whilst enjoying the diversity and unity of more than 25 different cultures and backgrounds.
More than 100 people sat in the Dundee church as 25 flags were paraded around the church and up onto the stage followed by greetings in each language represented by each flag. Multicultural, inter-generational, multifaceted items followed one after the other to culminate into a spiritually filled 2 hour programme.
These items included just to mention a few: songs from a Zimbabwean and Ghana group, a poem written by a Welshman, and a brilliant (yet humorous) skit performed by the teens and juniors on humility. It felt fitting to also include a child dedication emphasising how important our children are and our responsibility in bringing them to Christ especially in the diverse United Kingdom we live in.
Dr. Paul Tompkins shared the stage with Pr. Neale Schofield and Dr. John Baildam, Principle of Newbold College. A balm to heal the wounded. Yes, it is easy to recognize that there are wounded among us. Life is not plain sailing, and everyone is aware of that.
Pastor Tompkins was talking about the promises of God, as they are explicit throughout the Bible, just like the balm. A balm that finds its way into every culture, into every generation, everywhere. All are called by God to use this balm, to get relief from the wounding of this world.
When the programme came to an end, in the church hall food was laid out under each flag. As you wandered around the tables, food just landed on your plate, good food from countries around the world and to top it off, dessert. It was during lunchtime that conversations were heard, related to repeating an international day more often. Lunch was certainly a highlight.
After lunch the congregation took their places in the church as they listened to the youth, who arranged a very successful afternoon programme. The young generation of the Dundee church conducted themselves professionally as they shared their different cultural experiences in local and foreign churches.
It must be recognised that such a programme doesn't just formulate together on its own. Much work had been done by Professor John Walton and Dr Bankole Davies-Browne, over many hours to arrange everything. These efforts are much appreciated and the results spoke for themselves.
When all is said and done, as individuals made their way home, the thought rose again: to see so many of us, so different, and to know that there will be times when we will go through pain and difficulty, yet in these moments there is still a balm, a promise, that God has something much more than what this congregation experienced on 20 October. One day soon Christ will take His own to be where He is, a place where we will experience for eternity the Balm of Gilead.