The Noise, a Christian-organised event, was featured nationally for the first time during Britain's May 2001 Bank Holiday weekend. It involved thousands of Christians, male and female, young and old, going out into their communities to undertake voluntary work and do odd jobs for the benefit of both individual citizens and the wider general public.
The aim of The Noise is to demonstrate God's love for others through Christians serving people. It is a group of Christians' thoughtful way of saying 'hi' and 'nice to meet you' to those people in a community who might appreciate a helping hand. Importantly, those helped are under no stated or implied obligation when accepting the proffered assistance.
An underlying principle of The Noise is that 'actions speak louder than words'. Some Christians hold the mildly-controversial view that while it's all very well being a 'Sunday morning Christian'1, it can be more meaningful if a person is prepared to physically carry out God's work. And that means getting your hands dirty. The Noise is a practical application of the latter viewpoint. One that is firmly-held by some Christians.
Origins Of The Noise
The idea for The Noise stemmed from the Christian event Soul Survivor. In the year 2000, 'Soul Survivor: The Message 2000' drew thousands of young Christians to Manchester for a week. They set up camp and ventured into the city to carry out community work. While going about their volunteer work they also helped spread the Christian gospel. Known as evangelising, this can be done in many ways. From this Researcher's experience, it would appear one of the most effective ways is to respond to interested people who ask questions such as 'Why are you doing this?' in a friendly and truthful manner. The answer to the question could be along the lines of 'We're Christians.' Another question could be 'Why are we doing this?' The answer? 'For God'.
The Noise is organised in the local area either by a single church or a group of churches working together. Resources and national co-ordination of the event is handled by Soul Survivor. Their website contains useful information and instructions on what to do if a church or youth group wants to get involved. While The Noise is not affiliated with any particular religious denomination, it has had extensive support from some Protestant organisations2. Participation in The Noise is not restricted to Christians. Everyone is welcome to join in. This is an important point - exclusion serves no purpose and it goes against the example and teachings of Jesus.
Examples of what The Noise Does
The work done at The Noise is wide ranging and varies in magnitude. For example, the following activities were undertaken at Hanakins Farm (a local recreation area) in Billericay, Essex, as part of The Noise there:
- Guttering replaced
- General litter picking
- Fence repairing
- Ditch clearing
- Maintenance work on private houses
The work mentioned above includes only a few examples of the jobs undertaken during the long weekend by volunteers. Some people who had known about The Noise in advance pre-planned their activities while others saw what was happening and made an on-the-spot decision to join in. Many of the local volunteers were people who go to Bar'n'Bus, also based at Hanakins Farm. Several local organisations/companies were contacted about The Noise and responded free-of-charge in the following ways:
Basildon Council sent two men to help clear away the rubbish and take it to the local dump.
McDonald's, the fast food vendor, kindly supplied squash and other drinks.
The local press provided exemplary media coverage.
At the end of the day, personal differences did not matter. Everyone joined together in the spirit of things and worked hard to make the area around Hanakins Farm a better place. And they succeeded.
In The Future
In a debriefing session held at a local church, it was unanimously agreed that The Noise had been a resounding success. It was also noted that many of the jobs undertaken should not have needed to wait for a special event such as The Noise before they were done. In light of this observation, it seems that The Noise will probably become an annual event coupled with many more Noise-like activities going on throughout the year in a real effort to serve the community, and importantly, God.