Recently friends of mine have moved house to something with a bit more room, but almost as soon as they moved a nervousness about the rightness of the move has crept in. As a former estate agent I know more than most the traumas of moving home. Many have been the times when I've seen people move into a new home only to regret the move, realising how much better off they were before. The stress of the move often takes people years to recover from, and can even lead to relationship breakdown and then tragically an ensuing further move. Being so painfully aware of these strains Jane and I have, probably largely unconsciously, chosen to move only very infrequently ourselves (effectively just twice since Jane and I married 31 years ago) not wanting to put ourselves through that much distress.
If moving home for one family is such an ordeal, how much more moving an entire church. The prospective nightmare scenarios are too many to list. Surely only a complete lunatic would even consider such an escapade so fraught with potential tribulations. Yet moving can also be life-giving and hugely creative. I could not have survived for nearly a decade in the estate agency business had I not seen many happy customers being given a fresh spring in their step from finding a new home in which they could flourish. In St Barnabas' case I believe the positives far outweigh the cost.
There are lots of reasons for St Barnabas to move to the High Road. Our back road location makes us almost invisible to all but the most hardcore Christians. Transport links are weak, even though we have the tube station practically next door to us; bus, car, bike, and walking communications are poor. Then there is the fact that we are hugely dependent on a set of temporary buildings on temporary planning consents on rented land around the back of our current church. We are limited for space and cannot expand our ministries, or grow our church beyond the capacity that it has now reached. Our heating leaves a lot to be desired. Access into the building is very restricted and awkward and we have virtually no circulation space for community mingling. The building, whilst beautiful, is very inefficient and impractical and its majestic columns send a message of antiquity, rather than the bright, vibrant, attractive vibe we would prefer to evoke. However, these disadvantages with our current building still do not add up to a decisive argument for moving. Rather it is the positive vision of what is possible at Solar House that is the real reason for going, and those dreams continually fill my imagination.