Sunday, October 10, 2010

Westminster Central Hall

I'd planned to be at the service at Central Hall today for quite a while... I'm just completing my studies to be a local preacher, and as part of completing the section portfolio i have to write areport on a service that I haven't lead or been a part of... having done this for my last three sections and used my colleagues' services to give feedback on, I thought I'd make the short journey over the river to central hall and see how they do it there ....

I've been at at a service here once before (two years ago while on placement at the White Chapel Mission).. It's a place that doesn't really do what you expect it to do. Let me explain ...

It's a central London church. It's a HUGE building, set just past parliament and Westminster abbey .

The first time I went there, I was pleasantly surprised by the warm and friendly welcome that was given by those who were at the top of the stairs to welcome everyone. They seemed to make a extra effort to speak to those who they didn't recognise. I know this might sound a strange reflection but, trust me, I've walked into churches and had no one speak from the moment I arrived to the moment I left... but here in the heart of London was such a warm acceptance...

This was reflected in something that was said during the sermon by a visiting preacher

Any stranger should expect two things when they walk into the house of God a welcoming acceptance and the presence of God

That was my experience today!

One of the stewards had attended the Wesley course at Cliff (which I'm now studying too) He was there while I was a undergraduate and he made a point of come to talk to me. That's always a special touch isn't it? I did not think that he would remember but he did :).

The service today was actually the anniversary of the church. Central Hall was built in 1912 and is now 98 years old.... it was specially good as Ron Frost (the father of a man of God who had a impact on me and so many of my generation and went home not so long back )was there and we sang happy birthday to him. Not quite 98 but not far off...

To hear his story about his trial service to become a preacher - a sermon that was interrupted by the sounding of the war alarm was great! He's been preaching since a teenager and still going strong

After the service I met with my friends from Finland for lunch and wandered home ... back to my patch on this side of the Thames

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