For the second year running, things have been a little different at Love All Serve All. Covid-19 restrictions meant that there were no queues or camping in Wimbledon Park for tickets this year. The heart of Love All Serve All is to bring God’s love to all involved at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, from fans to stewards, through serving them with acts of kindness. This year we adapted by focusing on prayer walking around the area each lunchtime and being there to chat to the stewards in the evenings. We had a wonderful fortnight of sharing Gods love with the people we met.
Carolyn shares her reflections below:
Our daytime prayer walks were encouraging as we prayed around Wimbledon Park and the streets around All England every lunchtime. Sometimes we stopped to talk to different people and ended up praying with them too! In the evenings I would tell the stewards and security teams that we spent time in the day praying for them and they seemed to be so grateful for that. Prayer is so incredibly powerful, and those lunchtimes meant so much.
During the evenings all of the stewards, security teams and traffic management teams were new to us, so during the first week we focused on getting to know them and building trust. We took them homemade cake to simply thank them for doing such a great job to enable the Championships to run smoothly.
During the second week something shifted, and they started to call out to us and invite us over to chat to them. The stress balls, as ever, enabled some interesting conversations about faith. These tennis stress balls each have different words on them which often mean something to the recipient. Sometimes emotional responses were triggered by the balls, and we could see how the Holy Spirit was at work. These conversations covered issues such as God being the perfect loving Father, the gift of eternal life, praying for healing for people, and listening to others’ views on spirituality. We found that everyone was so receptive to talking with us, and with many people there was some belief in a higher being, or a background of church, and it was a privilege to bring the next piece of the puzzle and explain what a relationship with God means. After such a stressful year we particularly wanted people to know how valued they were, to take time to listen to them, and to share hope with them.
I wasn’t sure if we would have enough volunteers to go out on the last night but thankfully, we did, and it was a wonderful way to end the fortnight. We ended up staying out for 2.5 hours so that we got to talk to everyone. I was blown away by how genuine people were in talking about the impact we had on them this fortnight. And I continue to be amazed at how a cake or cookie can really change the atmosphere and open the door to deeper things. On this final night, right from the start the team were giving out stress balls and praying for people. I knew it would be a good night and by the end of the evening one person that we had prayed with and shared faith with, talked about how we had been the highlight of his evening.
At the start of the fortnight, I had no idea if we would have enough volunteers to go out every day with the prayer walks and in the evenings too. And I had no idea how much access we would have with the stewards and security or how receptive they would be. So, the fact that we went out nearly every day and evening, and we prayed with people and shared faith, was such a blessing.
Even with such a small team we had 7 churches represented by the prayer team, the bakers, and the evening volunteers. Love All Serve All may have been on a much smaller scale than normal, but so worthwhile nonetheless.
I am so thankful to all those were involved, whether in baking, praying, or volunteering each evening. We made a difference together.