Since we started Rivers & Robots, we've had a vision to do creative worship nights in some of Manchester's gig venues. The Deaf Institute being top of our list. It's a wonderful, quirky venue in the city centre that's hosted loads of great bands over the years.
We've been running regular 'Gather' worship nights in living rooms for the past couple of years, with the aim of stepping it up to do larger events later. So to be able to do the first one of those in this venue was a real honour!
When United Pursuit reached out about booking them for a Manchester date in their UK tour, we thought it would be a great fit for the first Gather event. So it all came together nicely! We loved hanging out with the team and praying together before the event. (You should definitely check out their Simple Gospel album if you haven't already!)
We eased in to the evening with some acoustic tracks like The Bridegroom and Open Up before busting out some of the louder songs. We also played some new songs including one called Lift Up My Eyes which has become one of our favourites to play live, and it became a bit of a spring board song for going into spontaneous worship. By this point everyone knew that this was a worship night and not a gig.
One of the things we loved most about getting to use a gig venue was that we were able to involve a lot of the staff and the team at the venue who have probably never seen a worship night going on. One of the things we're passionate about is seeing worship go beyond the church walls. The other advantage of it being in a neutral venue meant that not only did many churches come together, but people were able to bring friends that weren't christians too, and everybody was able to experience worshipping together.
And of course, United Pursuit were amazing, as they led us in an hour and a half of worship with songs from their new album as well as some old favourites. Standing at the back of the room and seeing a packed out venue lifting their hands and voices to the Lord was a really special moment. United Pursuit have a real gift for leading people into God's presence with simple choruses and words that unite a whole room, and we're really thankful for their ministry.
We'll leave you with this video from the evening. If you were there and have any testimonies to share, we'd love to hear them! Leave your comments below.
Thanks to Hannah Beatrice for her photography!