It seems a little late to say welcome to the new centre but it would also seem odd not to as this is the first News & Views since we moved in. We have had several weeks occupying the new centre and gradually we are getting it into the kind of shape that we want it to be in. This has been quite a slow process and one that will continue for a while.
I suppose in that respect it is much like moving house. Sometimes you have everything already and you just slot it all into place in your new house. All your old furniture fits and you know where the pictures are going. Sometimes though you move in and notice that the old furniture doesn’t quite fit so it needs replacing and then you begin to discover the things that you don’t have and slowly acquire them to make your new home complete. We have been on a journey something like that. There are still some cupboards to build and some things to store and one or two things that we are still learning how to use but we are generally getting into good order.
This month sees the official opening of the new centre. Rev Dr Nigel Wright is our guest speaker and we will be welcoming many friends, former members and others who have been part of our journey to this place. Rev Paul Hills, Regional Minister and Team Leader, will be with us to represent the EBA and the BUGB. The Mayor of Bishop’s Stortford Cllr Peter Gray will also be with us and we hope to have our MP Mark Prisk with us subject to his ministerial duties. It will be a day to remember not least because it represents the culmination of all we have been working towards for so many years.
We will also remember those who started this journey with us but have not seen it through to the end because (as my old church secretary used to say) they have been promoted to glory. We readily acknowledge their inspiration and often considerable contribution to what the Lord has done among us. We will be remembering this in a very special way that we will reveal in due course.
Those of you that have heard Nigel Wright speak before will know that he is a man that is worth listening to. I suppose you could say that since he was my Theology lecturer at Spurgeon’s College I had no choice but to listen to him! But it was never a hardship to go to one of Nigel’s lectures – believe me there were other Theology lecturers that were far less compelling! Nigel is a profound theological thinker who is able to express himself in clear everyday terms because at heart he is a pastor. He has led two churches, at Lytham St Anne’s and Altrincham that flourished under his leadership. He has been Principal of Spurgeon’s College since 2000 and has recently announced that he will be retiring next year. He is a former President of the Baptist Union and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I have always found Nigel to be an inspiration and I trust that you will also. In a way this is the end of the beginning.
Whilst everything will continue to be new for quite a while we will settle into a rhythm of life in the new building. We have Christmas to look forward to next, with all the opportunities that brings to speak to people about the amazing news of God’s love for us all. Then we have a new year full of possibilities. We expect that God will bring many blessings as He has in the past, but at that point it will be our availability to Him and our willingness to step out in faith that will determine how this building is used.
1 Corinthians 3:16 says: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
This building will never be the Church, that’s what we are. We are God’s temple, the place where God and man meet and it is in us that people must see Jesus. So please pray with me that we not only make good use of this new centre but that we allow the Holy Spirit to have full reign in our lives so that people will see Jesus at work in His world.
Yours in Christ