Adventist Today News Team, September 9, 2013
The Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in the London suburb of Watford will have a flower show this coming weekend (September 13-15), and the main display is being produced by "an award-winning floral artist, well known throughout the world for his artistic ability," reported the Watford Observer. There will be more than 40 displays around the theme "Ode to Joy," created by members of the Adventist congregation and other local churches and flower societies in the area.
The star flower arranger is William McMillan MBE, a Presbyterian pastor from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is a regular presenter at the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies (NAFAS) in the United Kingdom. "Reverend Mac" and his wife connected with Audrey Balderstone, a member of the Stanborough Church a few years ago and she has helped him with articles in the NAFAS journal and two books.
Balderstone has organized the Festival of Flowers at the Adventist Church each year for 15 years. In addition to celebrating the artistic and natural aspects of God's creation, the events are also fund raising activities. She has raised more than $157,000 for charities. This year the funds will go to Keech Cottage Children's Hospice and the church's Development Fund.
"A special feature of this year's festival will be a 'River of Roses' where visitors will be invited to buy a rose," stated the newspaper, "and write a dedication to somebody. It is anticipated that by the end of the event there will be around 1,000 roses in the river."
The Stanborough Park Church is one of the original Adventist congregations in the United Kingdom. It is located near the office of the denomination's Trans-European Division (TED). The Adventist denomination in the United Kingdom and Ireland has about 300 congregations and 32,000 members.
Growth of the denomination in Britain has been almost entirely among immigrants for decades with a very small percentage of native-born converts. The British Union Conference, although led largely by ministers from ethnic minority groups, has begun to encourage greater creativity in outreach to the indigenous population and the Festival of Flowers is one example of these activities.