Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Cambridge God Adventure* 67) Naming and opening

(*please skip if you have not been following this story). During much of the early story of the building project it was dubbed the 'Christian Centre'.  Few believed that this was the best long-term title.  The process of naming proved fascinating.  Alongside many good suggestions, our church historian - Ken Parsons (who had devoted years to researching local Baptist history) made a claim. 'Why don't we call it the Stone Yard Centre?', he suggested. 'That takes us back to our roots in the early eighteenth century when the first group of believers met in a stable in Stone Yard and worship began.'  Cambridge has a number of  famous 'yards' like Lion's Yard, Kettle Yard, all speaking history!  As the church meeting listened to the different ideas this name of Stone Yard resonated as a link with our city past.  The majority agreed to this name and today it has become a little part of city life.

Though I had been brought grim news about what we could not do in this new building, the church agreed that we needed a public opening soon. I was now well enough to be present when the President of the Baptist Union, Dr. Colin Marchant, cut the ribbon on May 1st 1988.  He was recovering from a terrible bout of shingles which had disfigured one side of his face and I was still visibly twisted - so we looked the oddest of though the sea had given up its dead.

The congregation filed through the new door into a (potential) restaurant area and then climbed up stairs to the first floor rooms and then further up into the spacious roof space and a small apartment set at the very front. The restaurant area had been set up with displays from each church organization. Always the danger of a project like this is that it can syphon off all a congregation's energy and commitment.  But, among the displays was rampant Missions Council enthusiasm and its work for the Sudan, Bangladesh, Oradea in Romania, and Barnwell (a Baptist church in Cambridge).  Each of these commitments had seen major gifts as though to emphasize just how much the 'outside' world counted.  We knew we had a long way to go to see the Stone Yard fulfilling God's vision but we were convinced we were on the way!

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