A Cornerstone

By John Ellis

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Carrs Lane Church

Many people worked very hard in order for it to be possible for the General Assembly to meet in Carrs Lane Church, Birmingham on 27 June, as requested by Mission Council. Assembly members also gave up their Saturday and in many cases travelled long distances to fulfil their responsibilities. The papers presented and the conclusions reached are available elsewhere.

There will be mixed views about the decisions taken. One thing that is clear is that Assembly affirmed the importance in our tradition of the local church as the key focus of church life and witness. So it was both appropriate and most refreshing that a few hours after the end of Assembly the next moderatorial appointment was with a local congregation.

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Cornerstone: 1914 chapel with 2007 extension

Cornerstone, as Hythe United Reformed Church is generally known locally, serves a mixed community in Hampshire located between Southampton Water on one side and the New Forest on the other. The century old chapel was refurbished, adapted and extended in 2007 and now offers high quality facilities, whether you are the preacher or serving the coffee. Two consecutive morning services have enough in common to feel this is one church but enough difference in style to enable a wide variety of people of different age groups to worship the same God in ways they find enriching. A large leadership team of Elders and others, led by the minister Eddie Boon, work behind the scenes to ensure all areas of church life receive prayerful attention.

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Cornerstone worship area

What particularly struck me was the energetic flow of ideas to address different stages of discipleship and serve the needs of both church members and the wider community. For just one Sunday there was a message conveyed via doughnuts, a group of teenagers from a relatively poor community in London sleeping over in the halls and sharing in the worship, the results of the church fantasy football league, a trip to the county cricket ground for those who prefer a smaller ball, the church puppet group away serving a nearby URC, the Girls’ Brigade recovering from their concert, photos from the weekend’s Korean Christian visitors and preparation for an open air service as part of the local Waterside Festival. And that’s before you even ask why the front row at the 1100 service were all in Regency costume.

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Cornerstone’s piano praising the Lord

Assemblies will never be everyone’s favourite pastime, but get caught up in the energy, life and laughter of a place like Cornerstone and you will decide the Gospel story still has its ancient power.

 

 

2 thoughts on “A Cornerstone

  1. Eddie Boon

    It was a joy and a blessing to have you with us John and for you to see what we are trying to do reach our community with the good news.

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