Twenty five years ago today (Sunday 19th November 1989) the Kerith Centre was officially opened.
At the time it was a totally unheard of thing for a church to do. Virtually no churches a that time were building new buildings, particularly not on the scale of the Kerith Centre. At a total cost of 3.1 million pounds, paid for almost entirely by the congregation with many of them double tithing (giving 10% of their gross income to the church and 10% to the building fund), it made the national news in the UK. I remember the first few weeks with a different TV company there to film every Sunday and articles in national newpapers.
I was stood in the reception area today reflecting on all that has gone on over the last 25 years. All the different people who have been in the building in that time. All the Sundays, conferences and other events we've run. All the people who have come in to attend Alpha courses, Freedom in Christ, Job Club, Foodbank and the huge range of other minsitries which have been hosted in the building. All the parents and toddlers coming through the doors for Sparklers. All the weddings and funerals. All the lives changed. Amazing.
I felt a huge debt of gratitude to all who had the vision and the courage to go for such an outrageous project. In particular Ben Davies, without whom there would be no Kerith Centre, and everyone around him who got on board with the vision, prayed for it and paid for it. I pray that my generation will lead with the same courage, vision and sense of the bigness of God.
And I wondered what the next 25 years might hold. What things will we do in 25 years time that we couldn't dream of doing today. What new buildings will we have built. How many more lives will we have seen changed.
At the end of the day a building is only a tool. We don't worship buildings, but we can be grateful for them, and for the previous generations who have left them to us as a part of their legacy.
Happy birthday Kerith Centre!