In our part of the city we’ve been through a lot following the quakes of 2010/2011. But I believe it’s precipitated a rather amazing journey for us as a community. We lost so much, but it has led to the realisation that a lot of the stuff we thought was important actually isn’t. To be granted St Francis of Assisi as patron of our new parish here at Innes Road was a gift. Francis had a great desire to ‘travel light’. He chose to walk away from the possessions he was surrounded by and discovered a new freedom from the control they sought to have over him.
This didn’t dawn on us in one dramatic moment of conversion. Sometimes the journey’s been painful, and for some it continues to be. But we need to move ahead.
One of the fruits of this journey is that we have pretty firmly dispensed with any kind of victim mentality. The quakes were awful, but God always promises to be with us in the midst of our travails, and we’ve certainly experienced that.
Giving up our plans for a lovely church and facilities at Innes Road was a big challenge for me personally and for our growing parish community. But I can say in all honesty that once again, real blessings have come to us by letting go of our own plans in favour of a greater good. After all we’ve been through, our community has never been so united, and generally there is real enthusiasm at the thought of the new friendships and renewed focus on mission (in warm dry buildings!) which the future holds for us.
We’re being asked to let go of one experience of community spirit with the promise of another expression of it in a new setting. That kind of transition is not always comfortable, but we’re up for it. We want to approach this next stage of our journey with grace, good humour and trust in the Lord. And on a good day, it’s exciting!