Friday morning is a coffee morning at the Hull church, and I had the impression that I had to take a stack of paintings to make up what would only have been a few pictures on display. I was even a bit grumpy in having to disturb boxes of the things in position since moving. As it happens, there were many other paintings on display all of which led to 'surprises of talent' one to another.
Interestingly a discovery made times before was demonstrated again. Leaflets had been put through doors and an advert appeared (but only the night before) in the Hull Daily Mail. The result was two strangers who thought it was a jumble sale and immediately left when it wasn't. The different faces seen were those invited personally who were other connections to existing attenders. They had coffee and food. There were no big numbers attending, no unknowns, no sales (and I wasn't selling, though one new face to me asked after I cleared mine).
It is possible, just possible, that the new faces might visit the congregation in its core activity. If not, well they enjoyed the event and the chat for what it was. But, yet again, what has been demonstrated is that leafleting is a waste of time. I did say this, gently, but you just let people make the mistakes of effort made before. Newspaper advertising was too late. Although there can be a follow up article, no photos were taken and editorial would only make sense if there was another art exhibition. Perhaps when another approaches a more pro-active medium term approach will be taken. The best approach is, and always was, the people you know who may share common interests already. The website and its message, and contents, can reach out to the unknowns who wonder in secret whether or not to show up.
What of those who have left: do we know why they left? Well, many have died, and the amazing thing is how they have been replaced - or nearly replaced. Many though did leave, and yes we do know why, which is why it is imperative that a congregation behaves itself when it gets to disputes. This is partly why I don't push what could be active publicity based activity, despite going to Great Hucklow and discussing publicity issues, led by webmaker James Barry and others. Once I did push harder, and in the 1980s in my early days even achieved a column in the Hull Star, but it created nothing but grief because the arguments of this upstart were not accepted as representative by an old guard, even though I wasn't seeking to represent the church at all but only say my sort of arguments were part of its range. That the column created responses from Bible quoting evangelicals was a problem for some, but not a problem if you think about the silent reasoning some would make that the column mentioned a church that was different. But it didn't last because it didn't have support and actually the Hull Star was a free advertising rag for which my little Pause for Thought stood out like an intellectual sore thumb island in a sea of dross.
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