Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A church is not a building...

Skainos (noun, Greek origin): 1. tent 2. presence, dwelling 3. frailty, weakness, as of the human body
EBM adopted the name 'skainos' for its building project several years ago.
Since January 2010, the congregation of EBM has been meeting, gathering, worshiping, and working off site. One year later, the church has been leveled, and now construction of the new building - Skainos - has begun.
It's difficult in times like these to remember that the church is more than a building.
During the week, it's frustrating to not have rooms or supply closets in which to easily turn for craft supplies or to continuously have to be creative about where groups can meet.
Through it all, it's important to remember that a church is the people who make it up. Even during this time of seeming limbo without a building, East Belfast Mission is still a thriving church.
Part of the planning around EBM this past week is beginning to look ahead to moving back into the building. In the next year and a half, what does the congregation need to be sustained; how do community groups need to be notified about the brand new building about to be open for use?
Through it all, this song often comes to my mind:
"A church is not a building, a church is not a steeple,
A church is not a resting place, a church is a people.
I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together,
All who follow Jesus, all around the world, yes, we're the church together."

Centuries later, we think back to the early Christians who met not in grand cathedrals but rather in small groups. With or without a building, a church is still a church.
God is present not only in a house of worship, but rather throughout all of our daily lives.

In peace and grace.

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