Hearts touched at Elvis night in Norwich nightclub
Mike Wiltshire reports on an unusual outreach event, prompted by INSPIRE, featuring an Elvis tribute act from Rev Andy Kelso ...
Thanks to a surprising idea from INSPIRE magazine, an unusual Gospel outreach recently took place at a Norwich nightclub where half the people who came to the fun event were non-churchgoers who heard powerful testimonies for the first time.
It happened because members of the Full Gospel businessmen’s fellowship in Norwich were seeking to do something different to help them share the Gospel. Usually, they held monthly dinners and invite friends to hear guest speakers.
Then Sue Pain, wife of Cliff Pain, one of the group’s leaders, spotted an announcement in INSPIRE, with details about Rev Andy Kelso who presents an Elvis Tribute act, with a special focus on the Gospel songs that Elvis loved so much.
So the Norwich group took a leap of faith and invited Andy to the city where he wove his own testimony into the nightclub performance, telling how he prayed his first prayer at age 19 after crashing his motorcycle at 75mph – and how his life changed.
As Andy’s faith grew, he decided to train for ministry in Church of England and served in a number of parishes. He also became Chaplain to Worcester Warriors Rugby Club.
Andy, a gifted singer and a father of five, admits he was “terrified” when he felt led to take his first Elvis tribute to a packed out concert in 2011. He was surprised by the positive response – “it’s been amazing and very humbling”.
Andy finds the Gospel songs “really touch hearts”. He recalls that Elvis was the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, with sales of 600 million albums, but his three Grammy Awards were all for Gospel music.
Despite the many struggles that Elvis faced, his deep-rooted faith in Christ was very evident towards the end of his life.
The show in Norwich took place at a nostalgic Norwich night spot – The Talk. Well-known as the former Talk of the East, over six decades it has featured such bands as Bill Haley and Comets, The Who and Status Quo, as well as Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton.
Summing up Andy’s Elvis Tribute night, Dr Barrie Lawrence, president of the FGB Norwich group, says: “It was a wonderful and unique evening – lots of fun and it gave us all a lot to think about!
“We’re also glad that Sue spotted that advertisement in INSPIRE magazine which made it all possible.”
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