At last I can get round to writing up something of our reopening ceremony last Saturday for Broomfield Methodist Church. The one-line summary is that it far exceeded my expectations, I was thrilled, and it has given us a launchpad for where we go from here. For those who want more than one line, here is a little more detail:
We began the afternoon with the choir from Broomfield Primary School. Nineteen youngsters sang their hearts out. None of their songs was religious, which didn’t matter in the slightest, but more than one had obvious biblical resonances. There was one about the tongue that quoted from the Letter Of James. There was another about the need to do all things in love, and it didn’t matter what talents we had if we didn’t show love.
They were followed by our magician, David Gardner. Timing him straight after the children was great for some of them and their parents staying. He seemed particularly good with the youngest children. David stayed for the whole afternoons, making balloon animals. He made a balloon halo for me. I have since lost it – in more senses than one.
The magic show and the choir meant we started to address the demographic problem in the church of missing young families – the first thing we need to build on.
The formal reopening service was a treat, with even seats in the balcony taken up. (Never did our numbers on the day dip below eighty, and we probably had about a hundred and twenty for the service.) The Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Duncan Lumley, unveiled a plaque and proved to be a warm and unassuming man both publicly and privately.
Tom Stuckey, The President of the Methodist Conference, preached up a storm on John chapters 2 and 3. He observed that the stories were about transformation. The cleansing of the Temple is a transformation of a building. We may shape buildings, but they shape us. You cannot stop with a building refurbishment. The water into wine miracle during the wedding at Cana is the transformation of a community. The transformation of the building must lead to community transformation. And the story of Nicodemus shows the need for individual transformation by the Gospel. Is Christ at the centre of our lives? Without individual transformation by Christ the rest cannot happen.
Do I hear an Amen?
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