I often use the phrase at St. Luke’s – ‘these are the kind of problems we like to have!’. Whether it’s running out of wine at Communion, having to bring in extra seats for a parade service, or needing to schedule a third welcome meal; these are all signs that God is at work in our Church and that by his grace we are growing.
To accommodate this growth, the time is coming where we must think about extending our premises. If we do, we need to pray and to think very carefully about what form that extension might take.
In today’s society, any extra space needs excellent access for those with mobility issues. Growth in size of many of our groups requires any new space to be sufficiently large to accommodate a good number of them. Increasing pressure on seating at some Sunday services makes the ability to open such space up to extend the worship space highly desirable.
Most of all, how could any new space express our Church vision to ‘Offer God’s living water to those who are open to receive’ in Lodge Moor? This vision is about the life of the people of St Luke’s (who are, of course, the Church), rather than the building itself, but could a building project express those same ideals? If so, first of all, it would have to be something that is noticed by folk as they walk or drive past, not tucked away behind Church building or up out of sight on a high level but seen by passers by. Then, to ‘make our faith visible’ as strand 2 of our vision says, the walls would need to be see-through rather than solid brick, so that passers-by can see the people, who are the Church, (hopefully enjoying themselves!) and see the activities that are going on in there, in the hope that they might see something they want to join. Thirdly it should allow us to increase our worship space – so that ‘life-giving, dynamic worship’ can be accessed by more people. Lastly, it should provide a facility which is attractive and open for folk to just ‘drop-in’ to at different times of the week – serving others, offering welcome and hospitality.
As many of you know, Trustees approved a feasibility study for a glass fronted new entrance way and ‘coffee lounge’ on the front of Church. However, as time has gone on, it has become apparent that our needs are changing, and so the proposal has been adapted in line with all of the above.
Today at the Annual Church Meeting I've shown some outline plans. They are far from being finalised or approved by the planners, but they do give an idea of how such an area might work.
Glass frontage helps us to be modern and visible. A good size provides a comfortable meeting room, at ground floor level giving a good place for existing groups to meet, and also more space for other things to happen. The ability to open up the space to join the worship area for more seating at, for example, parade services would be really helpful. It lets us bring office staff closer to the front door so they are accessible to welcome visitors. There may even be some times during the week when the area is free to operate some kind of ‘drop-in’ café too.
We’re at the very early stages with this project, but it does seem now to fit with our current needs as a Church and with our Church vision. Most of all lease do pray for this project, that, if it is indeed God’s will, he will inspire our architect, that the planners will accept the proposal and that he will give us wisdom and also the resources to bring it to fruition.