Decommissioning Prayer

I have been asked several times lately if I have a liturgy for the closure of a church building.  In many traditions the prayer of closing a building is described as reconsecrating – in the Presbyterian tradition we only commission a building for a purpose and decommission it when the time comes for it to be moved on.

This does seem to be a season of moving on.  The decline of many traditional expressions of church life has led to the letting go of church buildings.   Continue reading

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Malcolm Gordon at The Gathering

Malcolm leading the crowd

Malcolm leading the crowd

Malcs warming up!

Malcs warming up!

It was great having Malcolm playing at our breakfast Gathering on Sunday morning.  We had a full hall with many people joining alongside the usual group.  Malcolm was witty, thoughtful, and moving and he played and sang well.  Awesome!

Rainbow at St Stephen's

Rainbow at St Stephen’s

There was even a rainbow to greet the concert-goers!

Demolition Update

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Today the building is almost down – all that is left is the office level.  The demolition crew did what they could to respectfully demolish the roadside section with the concrete built-in cross on it.  The sequence of photographs below tell the story.  What’s left is going to be pulled down and carted away over the next week or so.  The principal machine operator is moving on to another site where his skills are now needed.  He has been consistently fantastic to deal with.
DSC_1028 DSC_1040 DSC_1051 DSC_1067 DSC_1071 DSC_1077

crosses in the rubble

crosses at St Stephen's

crosses at St Stephen’s

There is not much left of the St Stephen’s Church building where I work… even the wooden cross up the front of the chancel (remains pictured above and on earlier blogs) has been removed and is currently stored in the front porch-way at our house.  Yet from the rafters today a cross hung – and around it through a combination of shadows other crosses appeared around it.
I am reminded of quote, part of which St Stephen’s has inscribed on a small plaque and was rescued from the building ahead of the demolition written by George MacLeod of Iona:

George MacLeod on Where Jesus Died

Only One Way Left (The Iona Community: 1956), p. 38.

The cross must be raised again at the centre of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am claiming that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble, because that is where He died and that is what he died about and that is where church-people ought to be and what church-people should be about.