It is still very strange driving around Stanley without the old church as a landmark and reference. It is going to be a while before we get used to its absence. The Easter story reminds us of the possibility for New Life out of death: that painful loss can lead to a future with hope.
Plans are still being formulated for the site of the old church. We will be looking at what can be done with the stone we are left with and ideas will be on display for peoples comment.
Looking to the future, there is the opportunity and challenge to continue to develop a place of worship in Stanley. From the outside, architecturally, the church centre is clearly a school and is set back from the street so lacks visibility. We are looking for ways to transform its identity so that it is clearly a place of Christian worship as well as a place to serve the community in other ways.
This is an opportunity to think about what is important for us, as we meet together to worship and perhaps looking at different ways from those we have used before. The church is not a building, but the people from the community who follow Christ. We are the church when we gather to worship, and we are also the church when we scatter to our homes and places of work. We have rich symbols to aid our worship, the cross, water, lit candles, bread and wine, the bible and many more. There is a challenge in using these symbols well to help our understanding of the living God.
The challenge of developing the Centre is for the whole community. We want to develop a plan that will be inspiring and be one that people want to support. We will need to work with the council over getting long term security for the site. Then of course the resources to make the plans a reality. Please pray with us as we take these next steps in our life together and look forward to a future of new life and hope.