The following text was read by Rev Kate Stacey at the opening of the new Wychwood Benefice Centre on 13th May 2012.
We have come here to mark the official beginning of a bold project. Here we are at our centre, full of possibilities and hopes. I believe this marks a huge moment for us to demonstrate the vibrant community that we are called to be, and wanting to extend to all people living in our parishes.
As we have been reading Acts this season, listening to the kind of community the early church were, we have been challenged to step up and be people who offer, by the grace of God, generosity, healing and reconciliation, courage, hospitality, radical inclusion, a community ready to serve. By being right at the heart of our benefice, we are making a huge statement that we are not waiting for people to come to us. We are here for them. We are accessible; physically as well as relationally.
We are making a clear statement that we are here for everyone. We are in a place to see the needs of those around us, and strive to serve them, going beyond sticking plasters, gaining opportunities to demonstrate the abundant life of God. We really can make a difference in our communities.
By the grace of God, in the name of Jesus. And there is nothing like it.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, after much prayer, planning, and work by so many members of this benefice, we come here now to bless and dedicate this new Benefice Centre to the glory of God. It will be a center for Benefice activities, a place where community and church come together, a place where people get to know one another and
demonstrate vibrant community and the abundant life Jesus came to give.
Hear what the apostle Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“We are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:9-11)
Let us pray:
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe. Your gifts are many, and in wisdom you have made all things to give you glory. Be with us now and bless us as we dedicate this new Centre to your praise and honor. Give us joy in all your works, and grant that this Centre may always be a place where your will is done and your name is glorified, and by your abundant grace, make us to be a blessing to all people; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen