HEROES…Wilson Memorial Church welcomed almost 80 people on Monday, February 13 to an evening of humour, music and storytelling. The audience expected Adrian and Bridget Plass, David Robinson and Rob Halligan to turn up, but it was the appearances of Abraham (Old Testament patriarch), Zechariah (father of John the Baptist), the Reverend Studdert Kennedy (Woodbine Willie), and Edith Cavell, which blew the audience away. These were just a few of the ‘heroes’ honoured during the evening through monologues, sketches, poems and songs.
There was laughter and tears as Adrian and Bridget spoke of their own attempts to follow in the footsteps of these heroic giants of history. David Robinson’s (Co-founder of Searchlight Theatre Company) portrayal of Abraham (who knew Abraham spoke with a Lancashire accent!) made us laugh as he challenged us to consider our own call to follow God. However, it was David’s rendition of the Rev. Studdert Kennedy’s poem Waste that brought everyone to tears, as he transported us back to the trenches of the First World War. Kennedy was an Anglican priest who served as a chaplain, winning the Military Cross for bravery in the trenches. The soldiers called him Woodbine Willie because of his work on troop trains when he would pass out Bibles and cigarettes. Edith Cavell was lauded for her work as a nurse during the First World War in which she saved the lives of soldiers from both sides without distinction and in helping over 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. She was arrested and executed by a German firing squad. The music for the evening was provided by Rob Halligan, an award winning recording artist and songwriter, once described by the BBC as ‘Bruce Springsteen having English tea with Billy Bragg’. Rob’s easy style, combined with his genuine faith, touched the hearts and minds of young and old alike.
As we were invited to think about these ‘heroes’ it might have been easy to imagine that they were super-human, and that we could not possibly emulate them in our own lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. The message of the evening was that ‘heroes’ are ordinary people doing ordinary things in the ordinary circumstances of life. In this regard, we are all HEROES.