Sint-Elisabeth Anglicaans

Beste vrienden,
vandaag gaan we andermaal in op het thema van 'herbestemmen' van leeglopende katholieke kerkgebouwen. De 'gemakkelijkste' herbestemming is een katholieke kerk 'omvormen' tot een kerk voor een verwante levensbeschouwing. De kerk van het voormalige Sint-Elisabethbegijnhof wordt 'herbestemt' van katholieke parochiekerk naar Anglicaanse parochiekerk.

De parochiepriester en deken voor Belgiƫ en Luxemburg, Rev. Stephen Murray legt uit:

Yes, that’s correct – our church is moving to a new worship location.

Begijnhofdries 1,
9000 Gent

The church is located in the centre of the Old Beguinage of Ghent, across the street from where the Anglican church was located until 2008. Mary Jackson describes our move as, “We’re going home.”

WHEN?     17th January 2016 at 11:00 a.m.

That day we will hold a Joint Prayer service with the Roman Catholic congregation. From that point on, we will use Sint-Elisabeth’s for our worship services.

WHY? Here are a few reasons:

The conditions of our current chapel are getting worse. Water damage, poor lighting, lack of heat & sections of the roof that are falling in.

Added to that are the restrictions regarding midweek services and not being allowed to have a sign with service times on the exterior wall.

Plus, on many Sundays our congregation is too large for the current chapel and the Sunday School room is too small for the number of children who attend.

When Bishop Geofferey offered me the position as Chaplain in Ghent in 2011, his first instruction was, “You need to find a different location for the congregation as soon as possible.”

2) Ecumenical relationships – we will again be closer to the Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic churches in the Holy Corner where we are committed to a shared witness and ministry.

3) Accessibility – almost the entire building is wheel-chair accessible. Parking is available nearby & public transit is easily accessible (stops for Bus 3, Trams 1 & 4 are close by).

4) Potential for growth – we hope that our congregation will continue to grow through the grace of God. The new location provides new opportunities to better serve this city and for the spiritual growth of everyone.

The challenges
We can expect some ‘bumps’ in the first few months. It will be cold. It will be different than what we’ve become used to. It will be a big responsibility. All these are true. We will need to trust that God has led us to where we are meant to be, and that He has equipped us to be his saints in the world today. We place our hope and trust in God’s abiding grace & goodness, and pray for His help & guidance in all we do.

What changes will there be?
We will continue to worship at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday. There will be much to learn about the new location and how to be good stewards of the building. Also, the authorities who oversee Heritage buildings will need to be consulted.

In the coming months a legal settlement between the Sint-Elisabeth kerkfabriek, Bisdom Gent, Stad Gent and others will be reached. After the settlement is finalised, the future  will become clearer. In the meantime we can begin to dream and listen carefully to God’s call.

However, we will likely undergo a change of name (a final decision will be made by The Bishop at a later date). One favoured proposal is:

Saint Elisabeth’s Anglican Church (the Parish of St. John’s)

In the last 200 years, the Anglican congregation in Ghent has had several names. It wasn’t always called “St. John’s”. We also want to honour the faith of the Christians who have worshipped through the centuries in that building under the name of St. Elisabeth. We’re also aware that that is name used by Google and other online search tools, which could be helpful for the mission of our church. However, the name “St. John’s” must be retained for certain administrative tasks.

What we can be sure of is… God and God’s people have always been ‘on the move’. Throughout the Bible we read about their journeys. From them we can draw inspiration. We can learn from their mistakes. And we can take comfort in the fact that God’s Holy presence can never be limited to just one building. God can be found wherever people offer thanks & praise, wherever Jesus is worshipped in song & prayer, and wherever our lives bear the fruits of the Spirit. We pray that all these things continue in our new location. I look forward to seeing you there soon.
voor meer over de Anglicaanse gemeenschap in Gent - SaintJohnsGhent

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