Dear friends at All Saints,
I expect that most people will know of the outcome of the meeting last Thursday between representatives of HCDT, CWaC, the local councillors, Chris Matheson and ourselves, but for the benefit of anyone who doesn’t, let me summarise it.
Firstly, and most importantly for the community and for those who work at Hoole Community Centre, the Centre will remain open beyond this Christmas. This was made possible by a generous offer from All Saints to grant a new short-term lease for 27 months at a greatly reduced rent and a very generous provision by the Council of transitional funding to enable HCDT to continue to pay the rent.
As we have said repeatedly, All Saints is committed to seeing community work continue in and through the Centre on Westminster Road and discussions will continue in the New Year to see how that can be achieved in the long term.
On a more personal note, two passages have come to mind during the last few weeks. One is from 1 Peter 2:20-23 where Peter addresses Christians who are suffering unjustly. Quoting the behaviour of Christ when he suffered for doing good, and reminding the believers of the way he refused to retaliate or make threats at his arrest, trial and crucifixion, Peter calls the church to follow Christ’s example. ‘To this you were called’, he says, ‘because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps’. Instead of hitting back – verbally if not physically – we endure like Jesus who ‘entrusted himself to him who judges justly’. It’s not that evil won’t be judged, but that judgement belongs to God and not to us.
The second passage is Jesus’ call to his followers to love their ‘enemies’ and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44,45). In so doing we demonstrate that we are truly children of our Father in heaven who pours out his blessings on good and evil alike. And one of the things we pray for those who do us wrong is that they will turn to God in repentance as a result of our witness and prayer.
And on a different note completely, I am delighted that we will be able to reopen the church building for public worship again after the lockdown. The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, has said: “We are encouraged by the confirmation that places of worship will soon be able to reopen for public worship in all tiers and in all parts of the country.
“Churches and cathedrals can now approach Advent and Christmas with more certainty; a time when we know many people will look forward to attending services celebrating the birth of Jesus.
“We await more detailed guidance and will update our own advice once this is published.”
We plan to restart 9.00am services again on Sunday 6th December, although we will continue to produce an online service which will go live each Sunday at 10.45am on both Facebook and YouTube.
And, talking of social media, we are publishing a series of videos each Sunday in Advent, together with The Groves Church. Starting this Sunday, 29th November, they will go live at 5.00pm, last for no more than 10 minutes, and celebrate the good news the angels brought to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. Please do watch them on our usual channels and do ‘share’ them with your friends – the message the angels brought, ‘Do not be afraid’, is one we all need to hear this Christmas!
With love and prayers in Christ,