This Sunday, 29th May 2016, is a significant day in our church in that we are coming together to commission the CONNECT building on Queen Street in Marple. For some years the church has been praying for a place more centrally in Marple to be used to reach out into the community with the Good News about Jesus. Now these prayers have been answered in the shape of the CONNECT building.
The CONNECT building which used to be the old MIEC (Marple Independent Evangelical Church) building has been leased to All Saints’ by the Church Growth Trust who identified our church back in January 2015 as an organisation they would like to see use the building. What has transpired since then has been a journey of sorting out leases, and modernising and repairing the building to make it fit for purpose. There are so many thank yous I could write in this letter to people who have given their time, energy and resources to make CONNECT the place it is today. I do particularly want to thank Chris McComiskey for her leadership of the project. She has encouraged us every step of the way to be both prayerful and to spend time listening to God and I am excited to see how God is going to use this place in the future. Interestingly we have heard that CONNECT is not about doing stuff but more about being an accessible and hospitable presence.
In thinking about commissioning the CONNECT building I was reminded of how in the Old Testament Solomon dedicated the temple he had constructed for God. We read, beginning in 2 Chronicles 5, how after finishing all the construction of the temple, Solomon gathered the elders and leaders of Israel to witness the Ark of the Covenant being carried in and the dedication of the temple. The temple in Jerusalem was now to be a place where God was to be honoured and worshiped. The temple was to be a place of meeting with God; a place to ask for forgiveness, to restore one’s relationship with God; a place to pray, where God’s eyes would be open and His ears attentive to all the prayers made there.
As Solomon prayed and dedicated the temple in Jerusalem fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices that had been made. So glorious was the presence of the Lord that the priests could not enter the temple and all the people outside, when they saw the fire, fell face down on the ground and worshiped God saying, ‘He is good! His faithful love endures forever’. It is in the moment that God reveals His presence that the temple is transformed from just being a grand building to something where heaven touched earth. A place that was a unique, special and focal point of life with God.
In exactly the same way it will be the presence of God that will transform The Connect Building from being just a building in Marple to something unique and special for our community. Unlike the Israelite community who brought burnt offerings or sacrifices before God we will bring ourselves and ask that God will fill us with the fire of His Holy Spirit. As we spend time being at CONNECT and have the opportunity to connect with others it is the presence of God in us that will begin to be a blessing to others. As we welcome people through the doors of CONNECT we have the opportunity to offer hospitality, love and care and be ambassadors for Christ so that others may come and CONNECT with Jesus and know His love.
Please do continue to pray for the CONNECT project. If you would like to be involved in any way then please let myself or Chris McComiskey know and we will be happy to help make that happen.
With every blessing in Christ,