During this summer we have had to close St Margaret’s Church for around eight weeks. This was necessary and essential as our Church floor had become very uneven and hazardous. The works required the re-laying and bonding of many hundreds of oak blocks and the replacement of around four hundred tiles. It was a significant project which was costly for us in a number of ways.
There was the obvious financial cost which came in at a little under £100,000. It was costly too for many volunteers in our Church who gave very significantly of their time and gifts in order to deliver the project. Another unseen cost was the disruption the works caused to our normal life as a Church. We were not able to host Weddings, Funerals, or our usual concerts. During this period we had no choice but to hold one of our main Sunday morning services in our Parish Hall.
This disruption and change was both challenging and rewarding. Many of the familiar things we do in worship had to change. The feeling of our Church changed very significantly as we were squeezed into a much smaller physical space than the one we normally occupy. We had to do many things differently and we were forced to relate to one another in new ways. The process certainly highlighted what we hold precious. However, we also discovered new things together. New friendships were formed. We discovered that the usual way we are could be better and improved. The enforced change opened up to us new and exciting possibilities.
It is natural for most of us to find change difficult. Many of us appreciate the familiar, knowing where we are and what we are doing. Yet for all of us, at particular stages of life, change comes which we can do little about but accept. We can retreat, bemoan and complain. Or we can see that, despite the cost, new possibilities and different ways of being which we have never known are offered to us. New life is possible amidst loss and cost but faith and hope are essential if we are to find it.