(*please skip if you have not been following this story). My emotions were mixed that Holy Week as I waited in my small vestry. Some described it as my sit-in. At that time sit-ins were a standard form of protest when protesters would occupy a strategic building. This had a very different purpose but I confess to some fear that very few would come and that I had put myself in very vulnerable position as a leader. Yet, I also believed God was working with us and calling us to act. In the corridor outside my door, where portraits of my predecessors look down austerely,a line of chairs had been optimistically placed (like a dentist's waiting room). Nearby, another room was set aside for prayer. That first session I held my breath and listened for footsteps.
As a set of feet sounded outside and the first donor knocked on my door the enormity of what we were doing hit me. This was happening! They placed their gift in a box on the table and we shared some words and a prayer. Through that first evening several people came. Many told me that they had never done anything like this before (no surprise there!) but how their faith had been challenged and built up through the previous months. Several shared Scripture passages and experiences that had spoken to them and led them to give.
After each session the Building Fund Treasurer, Vernon Gosden, took away the box. He kept quiet about everything but on the Wednesday evening after three sessions I just had to ask him whether in the most general of ways we should be encouraged or not. He said that there had been some real sacrifice and generosity but that we needed to keep praying. That brought some uneasiness but the week's ongoing worship as we celebrated the Last Supper and Good Friday put everything into perspective. Our Lord went through this for us - that's the sacrifice that counts. As one of my recent sermon series had repeated: It's not our great faith in God that counts, it's our faith in a great God.'