A Service of Thanksgiving for 40 years of CHIPS was celebrated on Monday 13th March 2006, when around 140 people gathered at St Jude’s Community Church in West London. We were there to give glory to God for the variety of ways in which we have seen God’s love in action through the reconciliation and development work of CHIPS.

A stunning banner, symbolising many of the Christ-like principles on which CHIPS is built, was processed into the church and from there the story of CHIPS unfolded through testimony and talks, Bible readings, hymns and prayers. The 26 people taking part represented those who knew CHIPS through 31 Green Street, Tottenham and Brixton, CHIPS Team Members and volunteers from Cyprus, Philippines and Uganda, and those who have been inspired by CHIPS more recently.

The banner made by Elfrida Calvocoressi

The variety of people present was testimony in itself to the unity that there is in Christ and the inclusive ethos of CHIPS. As one supporter commented, “Hearing the story of CHIPS told by different people showed the diversity of location and application of CHIPS. It reminded me that CHIPS doesn’t just fulfil a role, but is about living out a way of life”.

It is not often that Roy Calvocoressi is taken completely by surprise, but for me it was a highlight to witness as, Mark Cuthbert, on behalf of around 70 people, presented Roy and Elfrida with a heart-warmingly generous gift in appreciation of their pioneering and Godly leadership.

As part of the final blessing, light, taken from one central candle, was passed flame by flame throughout the whole congregation, to symbolise Christ the Light of the World, who is our peace, going out into the world through us.

by Caroline Eady

You can download the full Order of Service here.