Why closed church buildings matter to me.

OK, everyone who is a Christian knows that a church isn’t the building. I get that. But the fact is that church buildings are symbols. Symbols of God’s presence in a community. Symbols of a Christian presence in a community. They’re places where Christians and those who aren’t Christians gather to encounter God. They’re iconic in our land. They provide space for silence and for meeting with God.

St James' Cardiff - closed since 2007.

Of course, church can be anywhere; in a house, on the street, on the beach, in a school. But there’s something about church buildings. And that’s why I love them.

The thing is, when a church closes, it’s never a good sign. I was always told as a young christian that a church usually closed when Jesus left the building. This could be very true; indeed, I’ve seen preachers and pastors who don’t even believe in Jesus driving their own churches into the ground. Though of course, churches that close also know that ministry is hard, especially in the extremes of urban and rural demographics. These churches need support! But they haven’t had any, so they close.

I firmly believe that where Jesus is centre, churches continue. And I don’t just mean the soteriology and Christology being right. I mean a church living and breathing Jesus in its attitudes, values and morals. Being open to the Spirit as well as being solid on the gospel.

And because of these things, I’m going to go to St James’ in Cardiff today and I’m going to pin a letter to the door of it, and then see what happens. It breaks my heart to see closed churches. It’s these churches that could be perfect pioneering opportunities. I’m willing to take that call on board. I believe God’s called me to get these closed places up and running again, but I need his help and your prayer and support! As I said on Twitter,

I’m hoping that you’ll support me in this call of God. I believe that part of my ministry as a vicar (when/if I become one, eventually) will be opening up these closed places of worship and turning them into places where God is worshipped yet again.

Haggai 1

A Call to Rebuild the Temple

1 On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the Lord gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.

2 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.’”

3 Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: 4 “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? 5 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 6 You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!

7 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! 8 Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. 9 You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lordof Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. 10 It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. 11 I have called for a drought on your fields and hills—a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get.”

Obedience to God’s Call

12 Then Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the whole remnant of God’s people began to obey the message from the Lord their God. When they heard the words of the prophet Haggai, whom the Lord their God had sent, the people feared the Lord. 13 Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave the people this message from the Lord: “I am with you, says the Lord!”

14 So the Lord sparked the enthusiasm of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the enthusiasm of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the enthusiasm of the whole remnant of God’s people. They began to work on the house of their God, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, 15 on September 21 of the second year of King Darius’s reign.

 

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about