Serving Jesus in Our Community

Church News

Time for Change?

Model by Kate and Karen*

On Sunday we started a week of prayer about the possibility of redeveloping our church building in Slipe Lane. Built in 1860, it has served us well. One constant has been change, with the building being redeveloped a number of times to fit the needs of a growing church family and the nature of our work within the local community (see Our History). We think we may be at such a moment now. The building has become a little tired, the accessibility for anyone with mobility issues is not ideal, and the kitchen has become a restricting feature in what we can do. We’d like to change this.

We have been considering different options for the way forward. Inevitably we started with a simple desire to develop the kitchen; could it be extended (it would have to come in as there is no more space outside)? We had some contractors come in and share their thoughts with us, and developed a couple of potential plans. We then started mulling over other things we’d like to do – what about a proper disabled toilet? What about getting more light into the church? What about solar panels? What about….

This was when we called upon an architect we knew through one of the church members, and asked him to have a fresh look at the potential of the building as an ‘outsider’ with an understanding of church and the kind of work we are involved in. What was possible? How could we maximise the potential of the building? How could it be redeveloped so that it best meets the need of our outreach (we’re keen to see this not as an end, but as a means to an end – we’re not about having an impressive building, we want a building that will serve our work of sharing the good news about Jesus and practically demonstrating God’s love).

He came back to us with some great ideas and a proposal we’re really excited about. This proposal would certainly stretch our faith and finances, it’s not going to be cheap, but we know from past experience that if something is ‘of God’, then he will provide abundantly. And right there is the thing, the big question: is this proposal something that God has given us, or is this simply us getting distracted and carried away? We only want to move forward with it if it is the former. The words of the Psalmist come to mind:

1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.

(Psalm 127:1 NIVUK)

Next Sunday, alongside our usual Sunday worship, we will be voting as a church as to whether or not we feel this is the way God is leading us, and so before that, we are dedicating this week to a week of praying for God’s wisdom. Would you pray for us too?

Father, help us through your Spirit to discern if this project is ‘of you’. Is this what you want us to be focussing on right now and dedicating our resources to – will it help your mission here in Wormley or distract from it? Speak to us before our service on Sunday and give us one mind on the matter. Amen.

*After Sunday’s service, we all took Lego bricks to carry in our pockets as a reminder to pray throughout the week. Before we left, however, two of our younger members showed me a model they had made with some of them – a pyramid with a cross on the top. I couldn’t help but see the similarity with our current church front, and so I took a photo alongside the proposed plans – that’s the photo you can see alongside this.

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