On Sunday I used a quote from Rachel Held Evans to both remember her witness and to amplify our message, “This is what God’s kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there’s always room for more.” It seemed to perfectly sum up why St. Columba’s continues to gather on a Sunday when we should really be getting ready to pack up and go.
Just look at this bunch of outcasts and oddballs – 26 of us last week. Most are over 60 years old, At least 4 have some level of dementia, 1 is homeless, 4 have learning disabilities and had come with their carers. 1 comes in late and leaves at the end, saying little about their situation. 1 had returned after his wife died last week, another is newly retired but planning to move away. There was one family with children. When the children went out to Seekers they were joined by one child and mother who were recently homeless and we support as best as we can. Our Elders are tired and carrying too much responsibility but we have very few people who we can call into leadership roles and as one leaves they are not replaced.
Yet this is the core worshipping group that allows another bunch of outcasts and oddballs to be welcomed through the week. 50 people will have been served breakfast on Monday, another 30 will have enjoyed a Mens Group run by CRMC on Tuesday, Wednesday 40 people for toast, cereals, evening meal and space to socialise, Friday 60 for evening meal. Saturday lots of children and parents for Messy Church and back we will come on Sunday, 26 or so worshipping together so that God’s welcome can be practised again and again.
We are now 5 months into a year of seeing whether we can re-seed this congregation and grow a secure future for this church. We have welcomed two new people into membership, we thank them for their confidence in us. We have started Messy Church and The Power of Science will start soon. The addition of Kirsty Mabbott as our Community Minister has added new possibilities and we are exploring a Women’s Group and/or a Stay and Play. But still we need some people who feel called to come and support this congregation. We don’t need lots of people, I have no interest in running some mega-congregation, we need 5 or 6 people who are confident in their faith, who can move quickly into various forms of leadership. Is that why you have read this far? I would love you to come with the blessing of your own church leadership but it may be that you have grown disenchanted and are looking for a new spiritual home – come and speak to us, there might be a place for you here.
Our bible text last Sunday was the risen Jesus breakfasting with Peter, “Do you love me? … Feed my sheep”. Are you ready to respond to the love of Jesus by feeding some sheep? Peter responded by gathering together a bunch of outcasts and oddballs and changing the shape of the world – we have room for a few more.