23 May 2010
Tonight was our last service in her, because we are moving onwards and upwards into the much larger Town Hall for our Sunday Services. Everyone is pumped.
I have mixed emotions. Sniff sniff.
I was there back in the days when our church dreamed of (and prayed for) a building of our own. I was part of it when we bought and moved into this amazing old listed building in 1994.
I've stood on her stage and preached. I've played a Victorian Missionary wife in a dramatic production on her stage, dressed up as Abba for a youth concert, put together shows and run countless events in this fabulous place.
The backstage smell still brings butterflies.
I graduated from Leadership College here. I was ordained as a Pastor here.
The resource room is where my office once stood. In that very room I blurted out my idea for a youth education programme to reach school dropouts. That idea became a project which changed my life as well as hundreds of others. CLS is still running and has grown exponentially from its once humble beginnings in 1997. My precious little "delinquents" came here to learn, to tag our walls, to annoy our neighbours and to secretly sniff glue in the toilets until we caught them. Ahhh if these walls could speak. (I'm kinda glad they can't, who knows what else they got up to that I never knew about??)
dearly beloved. The Mercury holds so many memories of our beginnings... early conversations, early realisations... It was after a gig at The Mercury that Mr G offered me a ride home which detoured into coffee and talking til the cafe closed and he asked me to watch him play football the next day...
Our wedding was held in this wonderful old building. I walked up the aisle to him, on my daddy's arm.
So many memories crowd in. Memories of sitting in the empty darkened theatre, praying, crying, connecting with God. Memories of wonderful music, celebrations, events, concerts, weddings, even funerals. For almost half my life this beautiful Old Lady has played a central role.
This for the girl who moved house nearly every year, and attended ten different schools. Having a place like this where memories have been made over so many years is priceless.
I have been part of this church family for twenty years this year. I've made friends for life here, and I'll take those with me. After all, a Church is not a building.
It's people. It's family. It's connection.
I know this. I know!
But still, a part of me is a little sad, a little nostalgic for all the memories that have been made in the wonderful old Mercury Theatre.
Thankyou for the good times, Mercury. I'll take the memories with me but I will still miss you.