Ashburton Uniting Church was ablaze with red and yellow for Pentecost.
The band, congregation and Rev Lavingi Tupou all dressed for the occasion and brightly coloured decorations adorned the church interior.
Along with the loud clothing, bright banners and flaming headwear came some deep reflection on one of the more important days in the Christian calendar.
Ms Tupou preached on the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit brought the gift of tongues to the early Church.
In recognition of that, she opened the service in her native Tongan.
She also had a very animated conversation about Pentecost with Ralf the puppet, who brought his wrangler Andrew Wilkinson up on stage as well.
Ralf entertained the congregation during the children’s service with his efforts to gain the Holy Spirit.
Andrew, following on from his “prayer machine” at Messy Church, once again excelled in the props department by using his science teacher expertise to build a Holy Spirit device, which emitted smoke, fire and gave a great rattling sound.
The band and singers led the congregation in stirring renditions of hymns and worship songs.
Ms Tupou’s sermon on Pentecost noted that the day was not, as some believe, a reversal of God’s actions during the Tower of Babel account in Genesis.
God did not restore a universal language on Pentecost, Ms Tupou said, but instead made all languages holy.
It would not be a true Ashy Uniting service without a lively morning tea.
Well done to Maurie and Doreen for the coffee, tea and biscuits and the catering team for a truly excellent lunch.
Ashburton Uniting in southeast Melbourne has emerged from a difficult two-year period where we didn’t have a minister.
“This Pentecost service proves that the Ashy members are on fire to get going again,” Ms Tupou, who began ministry at the church in March, said.
As a congregation we give our deep thanks to God for a successful service and time of fellowship.
Stephen Cauchi is a member of Ashburton Uniting Church.