Sunday 8th October 2023
By Rev Angela Long, Chair of District
This morning I went to worship at North Thoresby Methodist Church where a number of the congregation from Beaconthorpe now worship. I went early so I could go to Beaconthorpe and see for myself what the fire overnight into Friday had done to the building . The church itself is a shell with only the walls and a few blackened roof trusses still standing, although the church halls do seem to be largely unaffected. We will find out for sure when the insurance folk and Circuit Stewards go in tomorrow.
The church stands immediately opposite Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church and their congregation was just coming out of Mass when I arrived. The contrast could not have been more marked. The contrast on arriving a few miles away at North Thoresby was notable too. It was their harvest festival service, so the church was beautifully decorated with a large table rapidly filling up with harvest gifts for Doorstep, the local foodbank. I think some people were somewhat bemused to see the Chair of District amongst them, but the welcome I received was generous and friendly. Stories were being told of Beaconthorpe, perhaps stories which hadn't been told since the decision was made to cease to meet and sell the building. So, there was a sense that hurts were being re-opened and sadnesses re-visited. And, naturally, there is some disbelief that this could have happened to them. However, the sermon from Rev Joy was about possibilities. That things do not need to end as we might first imagine. That there can be hope and newness.
As I type this, I am conscious that the last 24 hours have also seen a massive escalation in violence in Israel/Palestine. That is a situation in which it is very difficult to see hope, but it is not utterly hopeless yet.
Having to close some of our church buildings can be very difficult, there are so many memories tied up in the bricks and mortar and sometimes there is a feeling of guilt because some how we have 'failed' our predecessors by being the ones on whose watch the work from that place has come to an end. But the work doesn't end, it only changes; with our location, with our age and ability, as witnessed to by the harvest festival and the giving to Doorstep and the wonderful friendships around the lunch table: People with all sorts of different denominational allegiances, all ages and backgrounds.
During the service I found myself humming a round I was taught at a Come and Sing Day with Harmonix, an acapella choir from Doncaster:
'Round and round the earth is turning,
Turning always into morning,
And from morning into night.'
Even after the most traumatic of events the world doesn't stop turning. There is always tomorrow. There is always the opportunity to make things better. And God is with us in it all.
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