The Last Stretch
As I write these words (11th May 2013) the chapel is now open and available for use. We held the Re-dedication service at 3pm on 28th April, which was attended by more than a hundred folk, including the clergy from the Anglican Diocese of St Helena, the Salvation Army and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
The Re-dedication service included the following:
- Singing of the Hymns: “Now thank we all our God”, “Great is Thy faithfulness” and “The Church’s one Foundation”
- 12 minute slide show of the rockfall damage and the various stages of restoration, narrated by Deacon Steve Terry
- Scripture Reading (I Kings 8:54–61) by Deacon Brian Thomas
- Reading out of all the various contributors who donated money, lent us the use of their resources and encouraged us in other ways.Some, who requested anonymity, were not mentioned. This was read by Deacon Nick Williams
- Prayer of dedication, offered by Deacon Vincent March
- Musical item “Amazing Grace” performed by Gareth Drabble
- Finally a short address by myself (The Pastor)
- Bishop Richard Fenwick was called upon to close the service with the benediction.
Refreshments were provided by members, adherents and guests, and were served in the Schoolroom, where for almost three and a half years services had been held while the chapel was awaiting repairs.
Please enjoy the photos taken on the day!
|The Day of the Rededication Service at last! Sunday 28th April 2013 at 3pm|
|Nick Williams acknowledging donors|
|Chapel from under the balcony|
|Pastor Graeme Beckett delivers his address|
|Pastor Graeme talking to Bishop Richard Fenwick|
|Wilson, his sister Jean and their mother "Mamma Lizzie" (93)|
|Jean March and Trevor Stevens (both active helpers)|
But I began with the ending! The final months from January, leading up to the Rededication, included lots of work and frustrating delays. At last, work was begun on the interior, with the contract having been awarded to Alan Richards. He did a great job, not only replacing broken floorboards and repairing the windows and railings of the front and balcony, but he also repaired the window to the left of the front entrance which had been badly damaged by termites. Then after another delay which caused us to worry if the chapel would be finished on time, the decorator, Colin Lawrence did the painting. We were left with two Saturdays to do the final touches – applying polish to the floors. One of the local businessmen, Nick Thorpe, kindly loaned us the use of an industrial polisher, which took some getting used to. I was informed that I had been awarded a special license to drive the polisher. It worked like a charm!
|Alan Richards at work!|
|More floorboards to replace|
|Now the balcony rail (with Trevor Stevens assisting)|
|Repairs to the windows|
|Starting to look good!|
|Repairs to the walls|
|Termite damaged window is repaired|
Then the new carpets were laid and those pews, which had survived the rockfall (three or four didn’t!) were cleaned, polished and minor repairs undertaken by Brian Thomas. A faithful adherent, and father-in-law of our Son, Arthur, Clarence Stevens, meticulously cleaned and polished all the windows – inside and outside, at one point falling off his ladder (but he was unhurt). Even the original plaque, put up when the chapel was originally completed in 1854, was moved from its original location to a more appropriate place - and beautifully polished.
|Polishing Day - April 20th|
|Cleaning and polishing pews|
|Work party hard at it!|
|The industrial polisher did a great job (after learning how to drive it!)|
|Brian Thomas repairing minor damage to pews|
|Even the balcony is looking good|
|Prudy Francis doing some final sweeping next to the shiny plaque|
|Carpet laying - Steve Terry with Patrick Francis helping|
|Clarence Stevens polishing the windows (they never looked so good!)|
Finally, Johnny Dillon kindly loaned us his PA system, and my wife, Hazel, and Edyta Drabble did a great job with the flower arrangements. Our old 1960 model Hammond organ was not up to the occasion so our organist, Steve Terry, brought in his own personal organ, which could plug into the amplifier. We were all set!
The Way Forward
If the church has learned anything these last four and a half years, it is that the Lord can accomplish great things through prayer and faith. The three hymns sung at the Re-dedication were well chosen, because it was clear that this was the work of God, through His people in this church, in other Baptist churches, churches and even further afield: other churches and even non churched people and institutions. We stand amazed! We thank God and bless all of you who played some part in this endeavour – and only eternity will reveal (and surely reward) all those efforts that we know of – and those we don’t know of....yet!
But then it is not all about repairing a church building! It is the real Church of Jesus Christ which meets in this restored chapel and other venues. As a church we enjoy a recent memory of God’s amazing provision for us, but now we must get on with the real work of the Church, which is about preaching the Good News to the lost, and encouraging and building up of one another, through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, and loving one another, as Jesus both taught and demonstrated.
We face challenges, and big decisions are to be made in the next days and weeks about these very things. Please pray for us that we, with our thirty-four active members, are up to the task. With God, we are! The real work of building begins in earnest, and "unless the Lord builds the house......." (Psalm 127:1a)