I wonder, can you imagine the All Saints Community Church of the future?
Is it a loving place, where people are growing in faith, active in the community and welcoming to all?
Imagine for a moment you enter the door at the back into a warm and welcoming place. The smell of freshly brewed coffee from the servery hits you as you enter the building. A friendly face greets you at the welcome desk. You immediately notice that the building is well lit and bright with colour from a local art exhibition hanging on the walls.
You notice that around the small tables at the back of Church a group of local residents are sitting together enjoying the stillness and beauty of the place whilst also taking a moment to catch up on the news of the day. They are mixed ages and some look really glad to have a nice comfortable place to come and meet with friends; they are really looking forward to the friendship lunch today.
As you move into the café area you notice another group of people gathered around a table together they all look relieved to be out of the cold having just had a warm cup of tea and a good chat with some of the Church volunteers.
You are amazed at the mix of people making the most of the Church building during the week and notice that everyone you meet seems to feel welcome, warm and relaxed.
You are aware of the gentle chatter of a group of volunteers as they work together to make a simple lunch and offer friendship, prayer and support to those who come.
As you continue to look around the Church you think what a busy place this and there is so much to join in with. You are reminded that it is Christian Aid week and you notice that tomorrow there is a Christian Aid lunch in the Church. By the door there is a box full of food: it must be for the local foodbank.
From a side entrance you notice a local youth worker just coming into the building ready to meet with some local young people; what a great place to meet them and for them to hang out after School.
One of the Clergy team rushes past you out of their office to chat with people in the café area; they seem to point to the notice boards and grab an Ipad to point out the website with all the activities taking place during the week.
After a quick chat you notice that the clergy person moves to the dais in the middle of the church to prepare for the short mid-day Eucharist.
Moving on past the welcome area you begin to notice what a beautiful open space this is and you begin to think that it must be a wonderful space for the performing arts groups in the town, local schools to use, and for concerts. And then you pause for a moment to consider how wonderful worship must be with all this space to appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty and stillness of the environment.
It must create great space for all age worship on a Sunday and be so comfortable for older people with such nice chairs and space to see.
As you get towards the front of the Church there is a group of young parents and toddlers with lots of room for soft play equipment. They all seem to be enjoying having a nice place to meet together. You notice that they are discussing whether or not to go along to Messy Church next week: it’s happening in the Church building, and all about the parenting courses being run by the Mothers Union in the café area next week.
Before you leave you notice a small group of people having a quiet time of reflective prayer in a small side room. How brilliant to have such a lovely space set aside for daily prayer in the midst of a Church being used for so many things.
As you leave the building you might give thanks for the signs of life, love and energy you can see in this beautiful place. It is busy but you sense God’s presence and that this is a holy place. So you feel hopeful and glad that the All Saints Church of the future looks so vibrant, full, and alive, and you pray that it will always be a place where people are on a journey with God and you are glad that they seem to have found a place of love and Christ’s welcome.
The Reverend Anna Harwood