The completed building of St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, was dedicated on 30th April 1887, 133 years ago this Thursday.
Usually, to celebrate this we would hold our Dedication Festival on the nearest Sunday, and we would reflect on how lucky we are to have such a beautiful church building. We would gather as a church community in the building designed for that purpose, remembering those who have died in the past year, and looking to the future as Christ’s followers in this place. But this year we are not able to.
Instead, this coming Sunday we will gather together virtually and celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, sometimes known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’. At some point later in the year, when we are able to meet in person in our church building, we will celebrate our Dedication Festival, looking back on what we have come through and looking forward to where we go next.
In the meantime, the words of the post communion prayer for a Dedication Festival are appropriate:
Father in heaven,
whose Church on earth is a sign of your heavenly peace,
an image of the new and eternal Jerusalem:
grant to us in the days of our pilgrimage
that, fed with the living bread of heaven,
and united in the body of your Son,
we may be the temple of your presence,
the place of your glory on earth,
and a sign of your peace in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.