Sunday had seen the lovely Annie depart home to prepare a sermon for her own Church but my wonderful wife had arrived and it was my birthday. We had a friendly invite to go to Pip and Jim’s Church near the harbour and we were greeted with marvellous warmth and affection. Adele forced me into wearing a ‘Birthday Boy’ rosette and so my secret was out. I was glad though, as having a whole church of strangers singing ‘Happy Birthday’ was wonderful. Clive’s sermon could have been written for the Celtic church, focusing in on inclusivity and Christian love. Half way through the service my father and daughter Rose suddenly turned up, a total surprise! I may not have made it home for my birthday but today compensated for that in droves.
Later that evening I was sitting in the Pier Head pub listening to the house band and impromptu talent, singing rock. It was an outstanding evening and I was sat with a good friend who is an atheist. He mentioned that Paul Gates, the proprietor, had sung a song he had written 29 years ago. Whilst my friend didn’t buy into religion, it had struck him what a powerful and spiritual melody it was. He thought Paul was a ‘believer’ of sorts. When the opportunity arose I asked him.
Paul offered to sing the song to me later and I perceive him doing so as a considerable honour.
I include a link to that on youtube – in my opinion a stunning piece of Christian music.
What followed was a conversation about God, scripture and faith, not just with Paul but with other folk in the bar. One lovely lady normally attends Pip and Jim’s but this evening was also church, people gathered to celebrate the joy of faith and discussing it openly, openly and in the pub.
I nipped back to the boat, grabbed one of our bibles and signed it to Paul and the Pier pub. It felt every bit as worthy gifting this to him and the folk there as it did in the morning to Pip and Jim’s. If you like great music and visit Ilfracoombe, give the pier pub a thought, if you are Christian go in and say hi to Paul. I left reluctantly.