Today is the fifth birthday of Christ Church – the wonderful church that I have been attending for the last four months.
I was having a wee think about this, especially in comparing Christ Church with some of the other congregations that I’ve been a part of over the years, and I realised a little fact or two:
Christ Church is the smallest and youngest church that I have ever been a part of.
I’ve regularly attended 8 churches in the last (nearly) 27 years of my life –
- All Souls, Langham Place [from 1984-1991] – which is 186 years old, and has a couple of thousand people attending.
- St Michael’s, Stanwix [from 1991-2002, then a bit of 2008-09, and a bit of 2010] – technically the current church building is only 168 years old, but there’s been a church meeting on site for at least 1000 years (and potentially since the early days of the Roman occupation), the current number of people is probably about 100 +.
- Fullarton Parish Church, Irvine [from 2002-2003] – became a parish in 1874, and was maybe 150-200 people big when I was there.
- St Andrews Baptist Church [from 2003 – 2004] – is of unknown (to me) age, but I’d guess the building dates from somewhere in the mid to late 19th century, and the congregation size is probably 250-300 people.
- Cupar Old Parish Church [from 2005-2007] – founded in 1415 and with a couple of hundred folk coming along.
- Findlay Memorial Church, Glasgow [from 2007-2008] – also founded in 1874, (by a 16 year old!) and with (I’m guessing) maybe 400 people there on a Sunday morning these days.
- Rosebank Union, Johannesburg  – founded in January 1906 (Happy 105th Birthday to you!) and with 1400 attending weekly.
- Christ Church, Heaton – started on Januray 6th, 2006, and I think there are usually about 60-70 people there weekly (although I’m not great at judging sizes).
I have loved being part of this family over the last four months. Having now gone with both big churches and little, I’m pretty sure little is where I’m at, and the reasons for that are summed up in the way that things are at Christ Church.
I’ve never been so welcomed in a church as I was that first Sunday I visited, and I’ve loved that that care and concern has kept going. The fact that it’s small means that you are able to get involved and settled quickly, and I enjoyed that fact that on my fourth Sunday there I was able to recognise (and welcome!) visitors.
Today, Hugo preached about loving one another – with two main points:
- Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that we are all made in the image of God, with equal dignity and status. Even though we are all quite unlovely as people, he still loves us and shows that ultimately in sending his son to take the punishment that we deserve on the cross – dying and rising again, defeating death and allowing us to be brought into relationship with Him.
- In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells his 12 disciples (and by extension, us) t0 love one another, like he has loved us (i.e. sacrificially), because that love will be a witness to the world around us, so that by watching us they might come to know something of Jesus.
It was a good sermon for today I think. Christ Church is very loving, but we must always keep at it. Keep going, keep serving, keep caring, keep challenging, keep meeting, keep running the race – till He returns.
In summary: exciting times, and Happy Birthday!