The protest singer Bob Dylan once sang that all he had was a ‘red guitar, three chords and the truth’. Centuries earlier a Christian Saint made his protest with a letter and three words; words he believed could lead us to the truth if only we could live them: Writing to a damaged and chaotic church, St Paul reduces everything to faith, hope and love. Three small words which can change everything. As a church, these three words lie at the heart of what we preach and what we seek to practice.
Faith in the God who is Love; unconditional, indiscriminate, reconciling.
Hope in the Saviour Christ, who calls us to follow in his steps of sacrificial love into the life and future we were made for.
And the greatest of these…
Love through the Spirit of Peace; for God, for neighbour, for enemy; for the healing of self, society and all creation.
Three small words, one huge commitment. That’s why we believe at St Andrew’s that a church must first be a safe place in which to explore and to fail; where questions are encouraged and everyone is welcome. That’s our goal at least and our prayer for ourselves is:
‘Grant us clear eyes to see people as you see them,
sensitive feet to stand in their shoes,
warm smiles to welcome them in your name
and such generous hearts that our church
becomes a foretaste of heaven
where every soul you send us finds their loving home,
in the community of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’
St Andrew’s Centre
There was once a time when a church was the centre of daily life; a place of gathering and commerce; of learning and sanctuary. It was in many ways the soul of a community.
Times have changed however and for most the church is now little more than a museum attraction or the venue for a Sunday-only leisure pursuit. In relegating the church to its margins many would say that society has lost something of the glue that holds it together, perhaps even its ‘soul’.
The vision for the St Andrew’s Centre has been simple; to provide more and better space for the church’s growing activities (particularly with children and young people), and to re-establish that connection with the wider community. Our old hall was coming to the end of its shelf-life, and as a congregation we were outgrowing it. For over ten years, plans have existed to rebuild the hall and we have spent many years asking God for his vision for this project.
We came to believe that God was calling us to create a safe space devoted to well-being, wholeness and reconciliation. Creating the St Andrew's Centre has been an enormous act of faith involving enormous amounts of money, but underpinning it is the sincere belief that, as William Temple once said: The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members’. In other words, the Church is not a ghetto but an agent both of good news and good actions.
Please click here for more information about the new St Andrew's Centre