Closing a church:3
Every Christian worship service I have been to has had confession and repentence as part of it. If you are outside the Christian tradition or hostile to it, that may sound like self flagelation. Done improperly it can be. As I age, I increasingly find it to be incredibly powerful: here is one space during the week when I am not the centre of everything, I don’t have to pretend and I can admit that I often mess it up. I can take the Christian truth that yes, I am made in the image of God, but also I am incredibly flawed. And cross the ‘I’ out- in this act, I grasp, albeit tentatively ‘ubuntu’ (It’s African- look it up), that I is ‘we’.
At the end of a worshipping community there has to be space to say ‘sorry’- sometimes we messed up:
- we ran away with our own agendas.
- we forgot that we are the only community that is supposed to exist for those that are not yet part of it.
-we fell out and never quite got back together again.
-we used each other.
& sometimes those ‘messings up’ were never acknowledged and we lived like Pink Floyd : ‘Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way’.
…and then we say our sorry’s and recieve absolution, to recognise that there is no condemnation, but rather Grace and Forgiveness.
Each Wednesday, for the next few weeks I hope to post some thoughts about closing a church. This has been occasioned by the church that I used to be a minister of (St John’s Colwyn Bay- now St John’s Uniting Church) from 1999-2004 voting to close in May 2013.