Early in 2009 an air of expectancy spread around Sutton Village Church. The word had got out that the worship leader at the forthcoming Spring Harvest at Skegness was to be Mark Tedder and his Worshiplanet band. We first heard Mark at Spring Harvest 2003 and everybody was full of excitement at both attending Spring Harvest and also seeing Mark again.
In 2003 Mark had performed tracks from his CD “Waiting for the Son”.
After Spring Harvest he went on to spend a couple of years based in Beijing setting up workshops and teaching worship leaders, he recorded a new CD “The Door”. Featuring some Chinese musicians, Mark sought to raise awareness of the plight of Christian’s in China.
Spring Harvest as always, recharged our spiritual batteries and on returning home and getting back to work, we sought to make a difference in our community.
From Skeggy ... To Sutton! Mark and Carrie arrive at SVC for the first time!
We had been challenged by the question, “If your church closed tomorrow, who in your community would notice?”
I posted some photographs from Spring Harvest on Facebook and kept in touch with Mark via Facebook and followed his Blog as he made plans for his next project, a three week tour of Asia.
Out of the blue this summer, Mark messaged me and said that he and Carrie would be in the UK in November and would it possible for them to visit SVC to lead us in worship. After a frenzy of calls and texts to the leaders, we waited for Mark to sort out his schedule to give us some possible dates.
When Mark said he could come for the weekend of 14th & 15th November, we asked if he could do something on the Saturday night. He immediately agreed and suggested involving other churches to pray for the local community, the country and the whole world.
After arriving in the UK Mark & Carrie undertook visits to Northern Ireland, London, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester and Carlisle. We met up on the morning of the 14th November and whisked them off for a pub lunch before heading to church for a run through of the evenings song list. We were also joined by Richard, from London who has sung with Mark at Spring Harvest.
Sound checks and rehearsals completed, time for a couple of hours to relax and re string his guitar before we were back to church for the evening Praise event. The evening was very well supported and as well as members from SVC we hosted visitors from other churches in St.Helens, Liverpool, Henley on Thames and the North East.
As Mark was unable to bring his Worshiplanet Band for the whole tour, he asked us to provide a drummer and bass guitarist. Rob (SVC worship leader) and Neil ably supported Mark & Carrie.
After a good night’s rest and bacon butties for breakfast, we were back at SVC for the Sunday morning service. Mark led us in worship and spoke about his ministry. How God calls us to be the salt and the light of the world. This time Mark, Carrie and Richard were supported by the whole SVC worship group, something that they were all very nervous and at the same time very excited about.
Part way through the service we burst into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and Carrie joined in before realising it was for her as a huge cake was brought out!
After the service we held a “bring and share” lunch and invited all of our guests to stay and partake. Then all too soon the time came to say farewell. Mark, Carrie and Richard loaded up their car and headed off for the motorway. Mark and Carrie had to get to Portsmouth to catch a ferry to France where they were to meet up with Gerard Kelly to start working on a new project, then off to Belgium to lead worship at the NATO chapel in Brussels.
Everybody who attended our Praise Weekend was bowled over by Mark and his ministry. The worship was fantastic and were truly blessed that he and Carrie were able to visit a little church in a corner of Merseyside. We fervently hope that we will be able to welcome Mark & Carrie back the next time they are in the UK.