We are a church without a fixed building, so we’ve met in a few places over the years. Back in 2016 we farewelled a large space at Canberra College for a more intimate one at the Salvos in Swinger Hill: you can read our ‘Goodbye to a big room’ post here.
Now once again, in August 2019, we’ve packed up our bags and loaded our car boots for new digs. This time, we’re saying goodbye to a small room in favour of a larger one…
Goodbye to a small room
In moving from Canberra College to Swinger Hill, we gathered our things and drew in close. The spaces between us became thin as walls inched forward and our shoulders bumped together and we came, once again, face to face. We could hear each other’s voices and see in each other’s eyes barely perceptible flashes of wit, joy or pain. The chairs and tables held us; the eccentric old collector’s lanterns dotted like buoys in a sea of jackets and bags, empty communion cups, half-drunk chais and darting children.
In this smaller, more intimate space we inched closer to comprehending the vastness of God. God was there just as God is anywhere, but as we stood in that space He continually revealed Himself to us in new and wonderful ways.
“The Salvos building has been a place of reflection, peace and encouragement for me. I'll remember it as the place where God showed me new sides of himself through the people I got to meet there." (Daniel)
Through the squeaky white doors we entered each week with anticipation and apprehension, with rest and stress, with energy and lethargy. For one couple, Redhill at the Salvos was not only their first experience of our church community, but their first experience of any church at all for decades. When they entered the building at Swinger Hill for the first time it changed both them and us forever.
”Our first introduction, to this group of God’s creations,
Gathered in the Salvos Hall; religious celebrations,
Sharing in an afternoon tea, before we hear of God’s acclaim,
Redhill Church, now with us, will never be the same.”
Our kids claimed the building like an extended family home. We asked the children what they would remember about the Salvos building and they spoke of hiding in cupboards, times of worship, cooking, the trampoline and helping to set up tables. In these spaces they learnt and danced, played make-believe and ran around, and many a grown-up moment of reflection was accompanied by deep thundering of feet booming from their room next door. New babies were brought into our church family in this space too; their tiny cries puncturing sombre scenes with real, unpredictable life.
In this small room we clinked chair legs and coffee cups as we met new people and deepened long friendships, and on the worn blue chairs spoke new ideas into being. Under precariously hung fairy lights we listened and prayed and shared and laughed and cried, and made beautiful music that echoed off those brown wood panelled walls.
We move on with excitement for a new chapter, but we will remember this space for bringing us close. For there in that small room, under both warm lamp lights and fluorescent ceiling lights, on full days and sparse days, loud days and quiet days, we stood together; and saw God.
From 18 August 2019 we are meeting at the Lyons Corner, corner Launceston and Melrose, Lyons. Find out more.