As school children break up for their summer holidays, families across the country have begun the count down for the great get away! Amidst all the uncertainty over Brexit and the timing for leaving the European Union, journalists have reported an increase in the number of families who will be taking their holidays in the United Kingdom rather than going futher afield. This is welcome news for the seaside towns and resorts that rely heavily on summer visitors for their income.

I grew up in Southport on the Lancashire coast. Its promenade, Victorian pier and the boulevards of Lord Street make it a popular destination for holiday makers. Southport’s Pleasureland is now sadly closed but was once famous for its rides and wooden-track roller coaster. As a child I can remember being taken on the helter-skelter, climbing what seemed like the endless steps to the top, before I was given a coir mat to sit on and I slid rapidly down the shiny slippery slope!

Funfairs have been an important part of seaside resorts as well as town carnivals for many years dating back to the 19th century. As electrical power and innovative technology was introduced, rides became more varied and exciting with Dodgems and Waltzers, Space Rides and the Cage all guaranteed to draw the crowds of the brave as well as those who just wanted to watch from the security of the ground! There is something about the thrills and spills of funfair rides which both attract and scare with the sense they evoke of being out of control.

Of course we didn’t need the advent of electricity or the introduction of the roller coaster for people to experience the ups and downs of life. Anyone who has been at sea in a storm knows just what it feels like to be at the mercy of nature as the boat is tossed around. While those who have been through the trauma of illness or bereavement will often describe their experiences as like feeling they are out of control, caught on an emotional rollercoaster.

St Mark describes a time when the disciples and Jesus were caught in a storm on Lake Galilee. Jesus was asleep in the stern of the boat and the terrified men woke Jesus, who commanded the wind and waves to be still; immediately peace was restored... In life being still demands that we give up the idea of fixing, of being in control or of having all the answers. Being still asks us to find rest in our inability; it offers us the relief of being unburdened by circumstances and responsibilities that exceed our human understanding. Being still allows us to trust in a power that is beyond us. Christians have accepted Jesus Christ’s invitation to trust him. They have acknowledged his mastery and chosen to trust his deep seated and deep rooted love that is offered to all of humanity. Through faith, they have come into the ultimate place of rest, with confidence that he will never let those who he holds perish.

If you want to find out more about the Christian faith, be sure you will be given a warm welcome in any of the churches in Newport Pagnell this summer.

May God bless you!

Revd Nicola Martyn-Beck
Newport Pagnell Methodist Church and the Milton Keynes Circuit