Written on Sunday 4th October
Denis Healey, who died yesterday, was sometimes described as the best Labour Prime Minister we never had. George Bell, who died on the same day in 1958, has been described as the best Archbishop of Canterbury we never had. That is speculation. But we do know that three years before he died Bishop Bell came to Worth Parish to dedicate the new church in Pound Hill to St Barnabas, the encourager. Today we come together to celebrate and give thanks for 60 years of the church’s presence and service in our community– witnessing to the church being both a building and the people. Those who invested in establishing St Barnabas’ would, I am convinced, be proud of what has been achieved and how their gift has been used and developed; how so many “families of the earth [have been] blessed”.
Aside from the improvements to the fabric undertaken and planned to mark the 60th Anniversary, we need only consider (e.g.) last week to see the ways in which the church allows people to “taste[d] that the Lord is good”: daily worship, 50 for dinner at our Alpha course, more at the Unforgettable concert, the hanging of the “Tree of Life” banner created by the Knit & Natter fellowship (thank you!) and, even more, if we add in the Hall and Pastoral Centre, Toddlers’, the café, a talk on Israel/ Palestine, St Nicholas’ Circle, Friday lunch, Plugged In youth group, the Easter Team meal for the homeless, a Saturday Market and today’s Pork Roast – plus the activities of various community groups hiring the premises. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. It is just wonderful to be able to join with you in welcoming Bishop Mark to a church doing such works in the Father’s name and actively working to develop her fabric and ministry to meet the needs of the community.
To God be the Glory!