(*please skip if you have not been following this story). Alas, the practicalities emerging from our day conference added a further £75,000. Then the government's sudden decision to slap increased Value Added Tax on building work added a further £75,000. Worse still, examination of the site's geology indicated the need for deeper steel foundations than had first been costed.
By the time we next met as a church in December 1984 the costs had risen to just under £600,000. . As we gathered a power failure plunged us into the dark. It could have been a grim symbol but we recalled the Advent theme of a people who walked in darkness had seen a great light. Admitting increasing concern, we emphasized that this remained a supremely spiritual issue far more than material or financial. As our Easter leaflet had asked: What is God's will for us? The scale of building costs had doubled already - were they to have the final word or was God calling us into a huge new venture?
We agreed to make a formal decision whether to go ahead or not at the January 1985 Church Meeting. But it turned out to be held on the worst night of the entire winter! Snow had started falling early and continued through the day. Though bitterly cold, icy and with snow drifts 80 members got through. I had never known such tension as chairman. We are here to make the big decision many said. 'Let's vote once and for all' said someone. 'What about others who couldn't get through?' said another. Yet, others wanted to postpone. Tension, frustration, even some anger was all so understandable. Having made huge efforts to be present we were divided twice - over the decision itself and over whether to postpone or not.
I had been preaching the story of Exodus where there was plenty of tension, frustration and sheer disappointment. We really had a measure of raw emotion this night.