This weekend we celebrate the Dedication Festival of St. James’ Church, its being set apart to the glory, and for the worship, of almighty God. Our current building is the third church in the parish, and the second on this site. We are justifiably proud of its splendid and distinctive architecture, which lends itself to the ceremonial of our anglo-catholic worship. It may be described as a 1930’s expression of the byzantine with traces of art deco, then in vogue: I have a print of a 1930’s style poster of St. James’, with the caption “Have Faith in Art Deco”!
Rightly we give thanks for our church building, for the dedication and (considerable) sacrifice of parishioners and benefactors who paid for it to be built, for the visible and tangible witness it has given to the loving presence of Christ in this neighbourhood, and for the faithfulness of those who have worshiped here down the years. The Dedication Festival, however, directs us to examine and renew our own commitment and dedication today, individually and together, not only to the care and maintenance of our building, but also to being a visible and tangible expression of who we are called to be, the Body of Christ in this place.
Our annual stewardship renewal will soon be upon us; indeed, this Dedication Festival could be described as its forerunner, its John the Baptist. I invite you now, as I invite myself, to reflect over these next few weeks on what we can give, not only financially to maintain our building, but also of our time and prayer, as well as our money, to sustain and grow our ministry. Our church, beautiful though it is, is worth little or nothing unless we, its members, commit ourselves anew to worship, and to reflect the light of Christ in the communities in whose lives we share.