YESTERDAY....TODAY....TOMORROW....OR FIVE YEARS?
One needs to look at yesterday to see how unpredictable today, tomorrow the future can be.
In 1796 John Wesley preached to a ‘thirsty multitude’ in Harpole and by 1836 there was a flourishing congregation in the tiny chapel built on gifted land — it was extended in 1896. A full house three times on a Sunday with a choir producing monumental works by composers such as Handel. Who could have foreseen the coming of World War 1 and its devastating effects? 47 men from this village, about 10% of the male population and 11 from the Wesleyan Chapel were killed.
There was much disillusionment in those returning with their country, living standards and with God. We can only empathise considering how we live now and how conditions have surpassed the imagination of that generation.
In the following years the faithful few continued to keep the Chapel going but life was changing, education, technology, our way of life, our expectations and hopes and dreams for the future, and in most cases it did not include attending 100 year old churches / chapels that were uncomfortable, cold, damp — smelling of old age and costly to run for a few people striving to maintain a nostalgic memory!
In 1979 we, at Harpole, were told in no uncertain terms that due to the state of the old original buildings and the small elderly congregation that we would not be here in 10 years let alone 5 years. Within those 10 years though the old place had gone and the new one built and paid for.
Harpole Parish is currently undergoing a huge building project, hundreds of houses, schools, sports facilities, shops etc but no church plant. To do nothing will waste the next five years and those years are essential to the ‘way forward’.
We are working closely with the Church of England and, hopefully, the Parish Council. We are anticipating the arrival of a probationer minister in September and the Church of England, a new Rector, soon after Easter.
We are being included in a ‘welcome pack’ in various sales offices and websites of the new development.
Visions and dreams are great but so are faith, hope, Prayer, enthusiasm and hard work!