Why no post for a while, you cry? Well, last week was spent in full and at times frantic preparation for the weekend. It started with a prayer breakfast at 8am. I had invited Christians from other churches, but we only had one lady join us. Still with such a busy day it was important both to cover the event in prayer and also look outwards to our community and ask the Lord how we could best reach those around us. Then as we tidied away more church members joined us and we started setting up the church, and working out how the service would run. It was so good to see folk working together and using their gifts.
I had to go home late morning, but I know there were folk who stayed in church all day, and I really admire their dedication. I came back at 2pm to a hive of activity, but curiously nothing felt rushed or done hastily. Then slowly people started to arrive, people who maybe left the area 20,30, 40 years ago, who found themselves greeting people they hadn’t seen for years, who pointed out to each other some of the historical artefacts on display, who looked round admiringly at the new building. By the time the service started at 3pm there was a real sense of fellowship and it was a privilege to lead the congregation in worship.
It’s always hard to know what to say on these occasions but I had felt drawn to the three readings for St Michael’s Day as they seemed to be particularly relevant to the occasion (see the main website for the text of my sermon). I really felt led by the Lord to talk about St Michael’s as being a local church for local people. After all, my grandfather had a relative who lived for all 95 years in the parish, and I discovered afterwards someone for whom he had built a bookcase with timber from the crypt of the old church.
Gradually people dispersed with (at least from the feedback I’ve received since) many happy memories of the afternoon, and with a real sense of having worshipped the Lord. But our work wasn’t yet done. We had to clear up, move tables and chairs, and turn the main service area round for cafe church in the morning. It seemed even as we were celebrating our move from the past to the present, we were looking to the future, with a new style of service, and new possibilities of growth and outreach.
More about the Sunday tomorrow!