Life's A Party!!! (but you're not invited)
Have you ever been to a lame party? I’m sure everyone has, but the mild sense of depression that follows attending one is as naught compared to the throwing of a lame party. It’s really quite exquisitely painful. I speak from experience. Ours was a New Year’s Eve/Goodbye party we held just before we left England. A few very good friends turned up, one of them brought fireworks (firework displays were his business) but I told him he wasn’t working, he didn’t need to do anything. His response was “well, we’ll see how things go, if things need a boost later on I’ll set them up”. To crystalize just how lame this party was, not only did he set up the fireworks he brought, he actually went home and got some more! It was an excruciating experience! But it certainly made it an awful lot easier to leave the country almost immediately afterwards!
Similarly I left my hometown (a very small island) at the age of 19 and went off to “the Mainland”. Which to the people that remained was akin to entering a mystic portal to the Twilight Zone. But I missed my home, my friends, the wildness of the place so much I returned, expecting some sort of joyful reunion. What did I get? I got this “oh, have you been away?”. Ouch! I left permanently shortly afterwards…
Such is the cyclical nature of life though. I have been looking through the All Saints archives lately and came across the story of the building of the first All Saints Church in 1881. The addition of the bell tower in 1893, the building of a rectory in 1904, the replacement of stoves by oil furnaces, the building of a Parish Hall in 1923, the placement of stained glass windows given in memory of precious loved ones, a new rectory built in 1964, new Parish Hall built in 1978 and most recently the major reconstruction of the Church proper in 1985.
And here we are again. Back at the beginning. The daunting prospect of the work to be done to drag our building into the 21st century is staring us in the face. But that’s only the building. The Church itself, you, the congregation and parish members are in great shape. Our numbers remain steady in spite of inevitable losses. Commitments of time, talents and treasure are freely given, new forms of worship and ways to invite and involve our community are in place and growing. The building is well used and well cared for and remains a central point of peaceful hope in our ever increasing local population. Even better - everyone's invited!