This month we celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the opening of Horeb Chapel. The foundation of the actual church goes back much further to 1843 but the building we now worship in was formally opened on Thursday 7th April 1927. Our special service on Sunday 9th April at 3pm will mark this occasion.
Looking at the dates for 1927 it is interesting to note that Easter Day was on the 17th April that year and this year it is on the 16th so the weekends almost exactly coincide. There is a sense then that 90 years later we will be holding similar services at very similar times as our forebears as we celebrate Holy Week and Easter and remember the resurrection of Jesus.
We do not know exactly how Easter would have been celebrated back then, but it would almost certainly have been more of a religious festival with less of a focus on Chocolate eggs (although they were coming into fashion)! But times between the wars were hard and, particularly after the carnage of the First World War, people’s faith was severely challenged.
Therefore it must have taken a large amount of faith for the members of the English Congregational Church in Dyserth to have had the courage to build a new chapel to serve the English speaking residents of our rapidly expanding village. But build it they did and 90 years later we are the beneficiaries of their labours and custodians not only of the building but of that same faith that so inspired them in their day.
Life for us in 2017 is very different to life as it was in 1927 and the church faces different challenges – not least our increasingly secular and consumerist society. In some senses being faithful is hard and taking risks does not come naturally to us. But there is also a sense that the message of the Gospel is as relevant today as it has ever been as people look for hope and meaning in their lives and for acceptance and love in a world that promises instant success and fosters division and individualism. People still need to know that God is ready to welcome them and that Jesus, in dying and rising to new life, shows us God’s love for the whole world.
We share the same faith as the Apostles who long ago first bore witness to the risen Jesus and the same faith as those who in Dyserth in 1927 built a chapel from which this witness might be advanced. As we prepare to celebrate Easter this year may we also find the courage and the inspiration to do likewise as we seek the Spirit’s help to continue and further our own witness to the resurrection of Christ.
May I wish you all a very Happy Easter.