Building on Sound Foundations
During our extensive and ongoing building work at Poynton Christian Fellowship in Hockley, our builders have found all sorts of things under floorboards and between joists. Alas we have not found a treasure chest (yet!) but we did find a programme for a Methodist Annual Tea in January 1912, when the building was known as Hockley Chapel.
It makes fascinating reading. Admission was 6d (just over 2p) which is not a lot now but I imagine was not cheap at that time. The people’s names are fascinating – real “old Poynton”. The fellowship and sense of community sounded terrific. In fact, the more we learn about what happened on this site, the more impressive appears that congregation’s dedication to what old records call the “evangelisation of Poynton and around”. The picture seems to be one of steady commitment and regular enlarging of the buildings until the records die out in the mid-1930’s.
As we move into Phase 2 of our major re-building works in Hockley, we are encouraged to know that we are standing on the foundations of past generations. And in the re-building process, we have seen several lessons worth learning and then applying to our lives:
Firstly – don’t judge by appearances! What looks like it will come down easily is often very strong. Equally, what looks strong may not be! When we took some plaster off a fine-looking wall, we discovered patched-up brickwork, an unstable lintel and holes in the wall! If we had just patched up the plaster, we would never have discovered what lay beneath. We all know Jesus counselled us to look at people’s hearts rather than appearances, but most of us are taken in too readily. Those people who appear weak and self-effacing often have faith that is solid as a rock. Similarly those who seem to have ‘got it all together’ may in fact be falling apart under the façade that we can see.
Another lesson is the importance of inter-dependence. All through the project we have seen how much different tradesmen need each other, each doing their part diligently, correctly and on time. If any one link in the chain falters, this lets everyone else down. We have seen this happen and it has put the work schedule out by weeks at a time. So it is in our own lives – the world says to be independent, but the Bible tells us we need God and others, ie: we are to be inter-dependent. The Bible knows nothing of go-it-alone Christianity, and we need to be aware of our need for others, and how others need us to do our bit.
Then there are foundations for life. In the Bible, Hosea tells us to plough and break up the ground and to sow righteousness as we seek God. This is good advice! We all need to deal with weaknesses, poor attitudes and blind spots in our foundations of life. When digging the church’s foundations, our Structural Engineer found strange brickworks many feet below ground, and so we needed to sink special pilings to ensure that the new building would have a stable foundation. So it is with us – we need the firm foundations of Christ to stand tall and firm in this world.
So, as Churches Together proclaimed in the Year 2000, let us hope and pray that “we learn from the past as we live in the present and look forward to our future”. Perhaps we could all do with a move of God such as was experienced over 100 years ago here in Hockley Chapel, and as recorded in another fascinating old document we have: “As the Love Feast took its usual course, soon the glory of the Lord filled the place …… It is reported that the power and influence of the Holy Spirit was such that sinners of the worst kind quaked and trembled, and finally believed, to the saving of their souls … “
Poynton Christian Fellowship