I walk up the driveway of the Church and I can hear the sound of laughter and chit-chat bubbling up as I get closer to the Church. The doors have been thrown open to the world this morning, and it sounds like half the world has walked in. Almost every table is filled with friends old and new and the smell of fresh coffee and newly baked cakes fills the Church. To everybody who baked, served drinks, and talked with visitors: Thank you. This is ministry. This is where we as a Church are serving and loving our neighbours.
Physically, the Church has been transformed. I see our building changed to be ‘fit for the purpose of meeting with the community’. We have adapted today. We have shown the community that this is their Church – a place of warmth and a sanctuary of welcome from life’s storms. Outside today, the sun is shining.
I look around and I see all ages represented: community elders watch and chat as kids creep up to the cake tables, eager to sample every cake with chocolate in it! I see members of the Church talking with visitors and my heart swells. This is what the Church is all about: connecting with people and sharing the story of God over a cuppa. I’m reminded of how often Jesus met people over food, and I can tell that he is in our midst. Is Jesus smiling over St Paul’s Church as we eat and drink together this morning? I believe that he is.
Those of us who were there left with full stomachs and filled hearts. God is at work and we were blessed to participate. One person remarked that it was a blessing to see everyone happy and smiling. Who knows, maybe coffee and conversations will become a regular aspect of our life as a Church reaching out to share God’s beating heart of love for Stockton.
To find out more about St Paul’s Church, or to get involved check out our introduction page