Some of you will know that the future of our church building has been hanging over our heads like the sword of whoever (yes, Damocles) since our arrival here. We have been down every conceivable avenue, either to try and make it work for our small congregation (but could not raise the finance for a new heating system) or to work out what else we could do with the space (it seats 1,000!)
All sorts of ideas have been put forward but none of them have had ‘legs’, so to speak, and we have started a process of consultation with the diocese, community leaders, English Heritage and anybody else who wanted to get in on the act.
But what has had us puzzled from the start is that none of us in the church has had the foggiest idea which way to go. We haven’t had a ‘vision’, although we are praying a lot!
Suddenly, out of the blue, the Eritrean Orthodox church has materialised.
They have a congregation that has trebled in three years, now counts itself in hundreds, with at least 60 children and almost as many teenagers. They do not have a church of their own and have moved around from one set of premises to another for the past 3 years.
They want to consider taking over our church building.
We have another consultation this Wednesday with the powers-that-be … we are all praying like mad … we believe that God ain’t phased by problems which seem massive to us, and it is rather exciting to see whether this is the way forward, both for them and for us!
It will be a very big change for us, and the older folks in the church will not find it easy. But we have to face facts, and move on. There will surely have to be a time of grieving and loss, but there is also the prospect of a future that won’t be dominated by continual and huge financial problems.
And as we are fond of saying, the church is not the building, but the people.
Watch this space …