Trying to let go

This is my first and last post as the former Minister of Highfields Church

Peter Baker | 10:25, Monday 29th April 2013 | Cardiff

I'm writing on a laptop. Such technology is designed for days like this, surrounded as I am by boxes and the noise of sellotape being wrapped around everything by the removal men.

Today is not yesterday. I wish it were, for yesterday will live long in the memory.

It was probably the standing ovation as we left the chapel at the end of the evening service which spoke most powerfully

It was probably the standing ovation as we left the chapel at the end of the evening service which spoke most powerfully of a race run and a finishing line crossed. You cannot put a value on such generosity. It is priceless.

I've had such endings before in sports arenas from thousands, but never as telling as this spontaneous (at least I think it wasn’t another one of Jim Pickering’s orchestrations!), unexpected and moving wall of noise from a church family whom we have served eighteen and more years.

We'd had a foretaste in the morning from the children as they had lined up in tunnel formation from the foyer floor to the top of the stairs to cheer and wave.

But this was from an adult congregation normally not used in worship to PDA's (public displays of affection). Of course, that corporate culture made the send-off all the more poignant and wonderful as it came from the hearts of more than 400 people who wanted to be part of the end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

Mind you, it had been a weekend of high emotion for us all. Never before in Highfields history have so many people cried so much and laughed so loudly. It is in our humanity, which generates tears and smiles, that we seem to be most alive. To be in the moment, which captures the years and distills time into bottled memories, is a healing, uplifting experience.

The sketch 'The Highfields Way', an affectionate take on our PA and Media team's skills, summed up all that it means to be part of a family which is secure and happy (most of the time!).

The revelation that this ineptitude was all part of plan to frustrate the professionalism of the Staff finally made sense of everything for me. I can leave content in the knowledge that all these 'mistakes' have been deliberate. 

Oh that all my mistakes were such!

And so today we begin to let go. It's only a beginning and I'm not altogether convinced I want to let go entirely, even if that were possible. I've registered a curiosity though. How is it that, at the last, all the tough stuff which years in the same church inevitably bring - the bumps and bruises of miscommunication and misunderstanding - are not remembered? Love conquers all and covers over a multitude of sins.

In fact, I want to hold onto the triumphs, the battles won, the disciples made, the victories of faith in the lives of hundreds, to rehearse what God has done through the faithful service of loyal colleagues, fellow leaders and friends.

A crowd has been turned into a family here, by entering the tunnel of chaos marked 'Grace'

A crowd has been turned into a family here, by entering the tunnel of chaos marked 'Grace'. Grace wins. It always does, it always will. For grace is God’s generous movement towards us in Christ - a never-ending wave of mercy which washes clean the past and carries us to the future.

So it is to future grace that we move, to the best that is yet to be, to the promises of God and the bright horizons of faith.

The removal van firm is called "The Bishops Move". I smile. Always wanted to be an Anglican! But even happier to be a Nonconformist Minister and Welshman. Happiest of all to have served a great church (probably the best church in the world!) in an era that was unique.  

In Christ alone, with thanks and love,

Peter, Sian, Emma and Laura (and Owen) 

 

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