I was sitting in St Matthew’s waiting for Sunday evening mass to begin, after the third lockdown ended. It was getting dark outside, and the candles were flickering. My mind was full of the sadness and pain of Covid-19, and the long weary journey we’d all been on. It occurred to me suddenly that there would have been someone sitting in this very pew over a hundred years ago, during the Spanish flu pandemic. Probably they were full of pain and sorrow as well, and had come to church like I had, desperately wanting to be fed in this house of prayer. And then, extraordinarily, I felt surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, and less alone.
That is why I’m committed to this Regeneration project—I love to think of the generations to come, who will pass through the same doors to gather round the Lord’s table. The doors stand open throughout the service, and passers-by are drawn in. There’s a welcome here. Come as you are. Don’t wait till you’re good enough. The work to make this place even more welcoming and beautiful is something that cheers my heart. And I sense it cheers the Lord’s heart too.