Last July, as we made the final preparations to begin the refurbishment of our Worship area, we asked the children what they would like to see in the church. Phoebe and Harrison suggested a slide from the top of the pulpit to the ground, leading to a ball pool to save me nipping up and down the pulpit stairs during services! Sadly, I had to explain to the children that great as it would be, this probably wouldn’t meet with architectural approval. So, I was highly amused on seeing the pictures of a helter skelter in Norwich Cathedral! The 50ft helter skelter has been set up short term in the Nave as part of a ‘Seeing It Differently’ project with the aim of giving people the opportunity ‘to experience the Cathedral in an entirely new way and open up conversations about faith’.
As I say, we don’t have a helter skelter but we do have a church that is very different in its appearance from how it has looked during its previous 140 years. And yet, despite the changes to the colour, décor and furnishings, it is still very much Emmanuel, a beautiful building where for decades people have gathered to praise God, and still do today, a building renewed for future generations.
At the end of this month our leadership team will be spending a day together to explore how we can move forward as a church community in new, refreshed ways, to make God’s love for all people real. I know too that over the summer, many of you having been praying for the future life of our church. At our service of re-dedication on Sunday 8th September, we will sing these words, written by Marty Haugen, ‘Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live. Built of hopes and dreams and visions, here the love of Christ shall end divisions: all are welcome in this place’.
So as we celebrate and take pleasure and comfort from our new surroundings, let’s continue to nurture a community with Jesus at the centre of everything we do, where all feel welcome and accepted and loved by God – with or without the slide and ball pool!