Blogs

Brexit or how, for a church, it all came tumbling down -almost!

Nearly twenty years ago the members of a church were told that the roof was unsafe and liable to collapse.

What to do? The members had to decide.

A meeting was called. It was an open meeting for anyone who wished to attend and not just limited to members. At least five distinct solutions to the problem were suggested. These ranged from putting the roof back as it had been originally to closing the church and joining with a congregation of another denomination with which they had good relations.

Another meeting was convened for a week’s time and a representative of each scheme agreed to present their idea to this meeting for consideration.

They had to move swiftly, but it was also important to take these different groups along together. The Secretary ensured that everyone was informed at every stage and notes of meetings were posted regularly in the room where the congregation was now gathering.

At the next meeting each representative was allowed to speak for 10 minutes without interruption to put a case. Five minutes were allowed for questions. There was then a brief time for clarification where this was needed. The meeting then spent a short time in prayer. Everyone was conscious of the need to move to a workable conclusion. Each scheme was voted on in turn by a secret ballot. The votes were counted and recorded. After the vote the option with the least votes was excluded and everyone voted again. The process continued until two options were left and a final vote was taken. The decision had been made that the roof would be replaced, but in a re-designed form to prevent a further collapse.

The transition was not easy. It required listening, understanding, compromise, even empathy. Building works of this scale involve raising money, employment of professionals and a lot of hard work. The church was ultimately re-opened and, although some people felt that the wrong decision had been made they were still there to express their feelings!

And then we have Brexit!

Religious groups at their best might have something to teach us, perhaps?

Jesus calls us to the chaos – hymn – ministry outside the camp

Jesus calls us to the chaos
that our hearts would fear to own,
places that are fraught and tortured,
only hurt and hatred known.

Jesus calls us to the desert,
wilderness of mental pain,
all perception seems distorted,
will we risk this stress and strain?

Jesus calls us out to meet him,
homeless, restless, lost alone,
all the future rung with sadness,
empty, heartless, cold as stone.

Jesus calls beyond the comfort
will the church stand still, or go?
Will we risk it, yet he beckons,
leave the safety that we know?

Andrew Pratt 21/3/2019
Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Written for Peter Barber

Nothing can tear us from the love – hymn – Romans 8

Nothing can tear us from the love
that breathed creation into birth,
that nurtured, mothered what we are
and placed us on this fragile earth.

We walk through chaos, fraught with fear,
where death distils its dark demands,
as tragedy pulls curtains down
and care is shattered, no more stands.

In all this stuff that forms our lives,
each place where hope seemed flawed or veiled,
in spite of all, through shadowed times,
a shimmering shard of light prevailed.

And nothing now in all the world,
it seems, can rip me from the grace,
that grace that holds me still in love,
in this and every future place.

Andrew Pratt 21/3/2019

Tune: O WALY WALY

Words © 2019 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.

Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

Written for David Hamflett

Christchurch – New Zealand – Hymn – O Source of many cultures

1 O Source of many cultures,
of lives, beliefs and faith;
you brought us all together
to share one world in space;
now show us how to honour
each vision of your way,
to live within the tension
of difference you display.

2 The colour and the culture,
that kept us both apart,
are gifts that we can offer,
a means for us to start
a journey with each other,
till hand in hand we show,
through mutual understanding,
respect and love can grow.
Andrew E Pratt (born 1948)
7 6 7 6 D Iambic
Tune: AURELIA
Words © 2000 Stainer & Bell Ltd, London, England, http://www.stainer.co.uk.
Please include any reproduction for local church use on your CCL Licence returns. All wider and any commercial use requires prior application to Stainer & Bell Ltd.

The ancient path – a hymn for Lent

Word, wisdom, song: the grounding of creation;
a rhythmic, rhyming, rhythm from the past
that weaves a mystic saintliness of being,
compelling sense of God, un-built to last.

The ancient path will lead our footsteps forward,
the future beckons us – as yet unseen,
the lapping sea of love will yet enfold us,
for every way  we go the Christ has been.

The heavens that encompass us while waiting,
the gentle touch enfolding us in death,
this warming spirit deep within our being,
is intimate as every living breath.

At every crossing woven through our seeing,
our sensing of the myriad stars of light,
give glances of a God beyond our being
still standing high in love beyond death’s night.

Yet on and on the circle is still turning,
a rhythmic, rhyming rhythm from our past:
Words, wisdom, song, the grounding of creation:
encircling love will hold, will always last.
Andrew Pratt 6/6/2015 © Stainer & Bell Ltd 2015
Tune: INTERCESSOR

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