A common perception among the ‘unchurched’, or even the people meeting regularly at the Parish Church, is that Church Garden Events are organized for the ‘sole purpose’ of raising funds for the maintenance of the church, i.e. ‘the building’. Fund Raising is, of course, not the only reason for the occasioning of such an event as, one can suppose, the majority of churches are also concerned with the ‘soul-life’ of the unchurched, i.e. those who live in the parish and whom, it is presumed, would benefit from finding out a little more about ‘Church-Life’.
In his somewhat controversial book ‘Irresistible.’ Andy Stanley[i] writes that:
Walking with his disciples in the region of Caesarea Philippi, the Twelve had no idea they were at the precipice of a new era. They had no way of knowing how significant that particular conversation would turn out to be. They were thinking kingdom. Their vision was no larger than the ancient borders of Israel. But Jesus had something bigger in mind. Something new.His ekklesia.
In August St Mary’s Church Ferndown is having a ‘Community Day’. Whilst an opportunity for parishioners and others to visit the church, its grounds etc. it is an opportunity for those visiting to discover a little more about the ‘community life’ of the assembly of believers who meet regularly at this particular Parish Church. Moreover, it is an opportunity for them to discover why it is that 2000 years after the events in the region of Caesarea Philippi there are people meeting at churches like St Mary’s who have had their lives transformed by the same resurrected Son of God, and who have a relevant message for ‘Today’.
The Community Day event is an excellent opportunity for visitors to see St Mary’s (the people not the building) ‘at home’. Moreover, it gives the church the opportunity to have a ‘face-to-face’ with those who are, as yet, not a part of our particular community, i.e. the people that make up the assembly that meets at St Mary’s Church Road, Ferndown. Lets welcome them with open arms and with an attitude of expectancy as we wait to see the fruit that grows out of this particular Garden Fete.
Soli Deo Gloria