For the last two years my church has been praying about, considering and discussing moving to bigger premises. Is it really only two years? Maybe three. It feels like ten. Or fifty. The constitution of the church calls for a vote on just about everything and there’s a high bar set for major changes… 99.9% agreeing (I exaggerate) before anything can change. So change is exceeding slow. In order to change, the old guard will have to die off, by which time the young guard will be the old guard, and so it goes on. Democracy isn’t perfect.
I suppose that we can seat about 120 comfortably. I use the word ‘comfortably’ very loosely. There’s little comfort to be had in the pews, no facility for people with disabilities, no area for children, the musicians are crammed in a corner, the balcony is at the same rake as the north face of the Eiger, and (oh, yes!) we have one inside loo. Apart from that, we can sit 120 comfortably. There’s parking for maybe 6 cars. All in all, the church building no longer serves the church body.
At Easter and Christmas, at Baptism services, carol services and back-to-church Sunday, the regulars are asked to sit in the vestry and listen via the sound system. The more details I give you the more bloody ridiculous it all sounds. Scuse the language.
And then came Covid19. The church building is empty. We are all in our homes. We are FaceTiming each other and zooming and Skyping, texting, emailing and phoning. There’s a care team and a help team. There are online Bible studies and a whole new website full of great ‘stuff’ has been made available to us.
The plans we had to move into a local school for worship during this Summer are shelved.
Today, for the second Sunday of lockdown, our sermon went out on our youtube channel and in audio on our website. Already, in just a few hours, the youtube version alone has been viewed 129 times. The audio version on the website? Some more, number unknown. Bearing in mind that most of our people are married, and will listen together, and that the children will be listening with them, and even some of us singles have grandchildren or others living with us… I reckon that could be well over 250 pairs of ears tuned in to a great sermon on The Lord’s Prayer.
today our church is full. It’s bursting at the seams. It’s bursting out into sitting rooms and studies, into bedrooms, it’s reaching the old and the young, the sick and the well, those who are afraid and those who give comfort. Today we are listening in the sunshine, in our gardens, as we walk down country lanes. Today our church is just the right size.
TODAY OUR CHURCH IS JUST THE RIGHT SIZE
Who’d’a thought it?
Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
Isaiah 54:2 NIV