Last week at St Bs I announced that unless we had raised nearly £2m (exact figure £1.7m) by last Tuesday, Solar House would go on the market to prepare for closing the entire project down. Astonishingly by 10.05 on Tuesday morning we reached the £1.7m target, and so Solar House is now not going on the market and we are going to be moving there.
This represents a watershed moment for the project. Up until Tuesday every presentation I made was prefaced by a statement to the effect that the project was so challenging that there was a strong possibility that it would fail. I am now forced to amend that preface, because now the assumption has shifted to be in favour of the project proceeding. Even as I write this the wave of relief is so strong that I almost feel faint with the intoxication of freedom to breathe again. But whilst it is appropriate to allow ourselves a moment to celebrate this milestone, we should not pause in our efforts to push the project forward. The challenges ahead may yet prove to be more arduous than the journey we have so far navigated.
After Montgomery's allied army defeated Rommel at El Alamein, there was great rejoicing. It was a significant turning point in the Second World War of which Churchill later reflected: "Before Alamein, we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat." However at the time, in a speech at the Mansion House on 10 November 1942, Churchill uttered the now famous line: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
For us at St Barnabas, whilst we are still very much in the thick of the battle, the future has a more positive outlook. The Go and Grow project is a campaign to establish something incredibly constructive and life-giving in the heart of North Finchley. So whilst this week may well mark the end of the beginning of the relocation project, the mission to reach North London with the gospel is a horizonless venture that permeates both our present and future.