Dear church members and friends,
this is how I usually introduce my messages, as I reckon in our numbers both baptised members of our Dublin West Seventh-day Adventist church, but also members of other congregations, family members and friends who may have not yet committed their life to Christ. Hope you are all well and, while we as church may be in debt toward you, for underserving, God has surely blessed you and took care of you and the loved ones.
Here we are, 7 months after our last service in the church building. We have stopped going to church, but we have continued being and doing church under new circumstances. What seemed back then to be just a waiting time and then all things will get back to normal is obvious now as a time of uncertainty, a season that one cannot predict nor proclaim, one cannot despise nor neglect.
I personally started the crisis with a message for all, quoting from the book of Daniel (if you remember): “When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks to God, as he had done previously.” (Daniel 6:10)
This is what I continue doing, as it is my faith and my part into the journey. Do you do the same? Remember our approach? (it was 21 March).
We met online as a church, on Zoom, every single week (on Sabbaths, on Tuesday nights, on Thursday nights for youth). Some came, some not. We had other activities such as meeting in nature, helping here and there, serving on the street, distributing books, even viewing buildings. Some got involved, some not. We had messages of information, awareness, appeals sent on your phone, by different members or leaders of the church. Some answered, some not.
I don’t fancy thinking that ALL the church will move like an army. But this is about you! If you don’t do it, your spouse notices it. Your kids will see it also. Your circle of friends will see that your former appeals to repent, and come to church, don’t really matter do they?
I have no doubt that the church will resist. The question is: will you resist?
When you show up to church events, you help yourself to resist. When you answer, giving a feedback, even if a short “Amen” or a small icon such as 👍🏻 or 🙌 or 🙏 you show support and that helps you also. If you keep silent we may think you don’t have a preference and give us the trust to act to the best interests of the church. Mind you, if you’re silent on issues, you may think we know why. We don’t!
So, why this letter? Because we are at crossroads. Let us share three directions.
1) The current building of Elim church. They have opened the building and making all things workable as much as possible: marked places on the floors and walls, chairs arranged to allow distancing, one way circuit in the hall, open windows, sanitisers in place etc. No structural alterations. We had a discussion with them. If we want to go back we are welcome under these current conditions and the previous financial terms. That is: 1,000 euro per month (bills included). If we go back, then we have to commit (participation, finances, involvement, support). If we don’t go, we lose the place as other church is willing to step in (and the landlords are ok with them).
2) The future building of Dublin West. We have forwarded a proposal to the Irish Mission Executive Committee. Both parties are willing to get things going. We are still searching for a good place: location, distances, price, Council zoning permitting place of worship and centre of influence, area/seats, parking etc. It is not easy (we have viewed several places). We may come with a proposal outside of D15. The areas around, such as Lucan, Clondalkin, Finglas belong to South Dublin City Council or to Dublin City Council and there are more options and a more permissive legislation.
3) The church without a building. For many many weeks we functioned as a Zoom church. We also met in nature, in families or small groups, we met in the street both for book distribution or ACS activities. While some of us see the signs of a revival and alternative ways of doing church, some others fear a fragmenting and dissipation of church (especially for those who are not connected to any of these activities). We can continue to do that, and also think of alternatives: meeting in nature (weather will be against us soon), meeting in small groups (we need leaders and hosts), meeting in a public place (very expensive, a hotel will charge 750 per Sabbath).
We need to decide regarding point #1 as it connects with #3. For this reason we are inviting you ALL to a…
Business Meeting. Tomorrow, on the Sabbath, at 10am, on Zoom.
We want to ask questions and get answers, share faith and feelings, but also encouragements and ways forward, get your input and ask God for leading. Following this meeting we may get to a decision. Thank you.
Christian, the pastor.