Welcome everyone! And a special welcome to Rev. Tim Attwell. Just to let you know, Tim retired last week and when I called him a few months ago to ask whether he was available to preach today—he answered: “Yes I am free!” I will leave it up to you to decide what he meant! But thank you Tim for agreeing to preach one week after your retirement—it is a joy and privilege to have you here today helping us to celebrate the 130th Anniversary of the dedication of this building, way back on the 12 November 1879.
Looking back over some of the records of this glorious sanctuary I came across its measurements. “The spire is 46 m high and the nave 20 m high, while the width is 18 m and is 34 m in length”. That is an impressively high ceiling—surely hoping that we will have a sense of the High and Holy in our midst and reminding us of the Heights of God’s endless glory.
It reminds me that in the early part of last century “Polish synagogues were built below the ground—like caves. The reason for this was because the State prohibited synagogues to be built as high as churches. But the Jews refused to have their reverence diminished by building codes. The vaulted ceilings were still built; the congregation simply prayed deeper underground.” (From: Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels). Our high ceiling was built 130 years ago, now it is for us to pray deeper. This is the core of our calling and our most pressing need on our journey towards future faithfulness!