"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted"
Dear Friends and Neighbours,
I want to just write and let you know what the situation is with the community centre and Abbeyfield Community Church and with ourselves.
As you know it has long been my desire to see a thriving community centre and new home for our church in the former Garrison Gymnasium. I have always believed this was what God wanted us to do as a Church and I still believe that. To this end I have worked hard and tirelessly along with my colleague Steve in the church, and in the belief that the Church was behind it. Very sadly at our AGM in July this proved not to be the case.
We were at the point of getting ready to sign the lease from the council and get going with the internal renovations. So at that meeting I asked for a final confirmation of support as there would then be no going back. Many questions were asked and doubts expressed by some church members so that when it was put to a vote approx. 60% decided they could not support this amazing project. I was and remain heart-broken over it and I know through talking with some of you, you too share my sadness and also lack of comprehension in deciding against such an amazing opportunity, especially after so much cost and input over more than 5 years.
Having spent some weeks away thinking and reflecting over the whole situation, I have decided that I cannot continue as the Minister of Abbeyfield Community Church. I have therefore resigned and will finish at the end of January. My fellow elder and church leader Tony shares my feelings and he and his wife will also be standing down from their roles within the church. This is not what I wanted and it is not what the council wanted. Yes, they have at times been frustratingly slow in their decision making and action and more speed might not have led to the current situation - but despite the long journey and various battles - they have always been supportive to us as a church in wanting us to take over this building to run as a community centre for this great community. The blame is not theirs.
I had planned to retire next July when I reach 65 and had hoped that by then we would have been in the community centre and ready to serve you. Sadly it is not to be. Instead Pauline and I will be moving to France. We shall miss this place and this community very much and we are desperately sorry that what we hoped, worked and planned for has not happened. We will be coming back and forth to Colchester and will look forward to popping in and seeing you. What is happening now with the Garrison Gymnasium, I don‘t know. The council are re-advertising it for someone else to take it over. Hopefully and ideally it will be run as a community centre. That being the case I shall be delighted for you and be happy to hand over whatever will be of help in the process. In this way I trust our years of work will not be in vain.
Over the years some of you have come to know other people in the church – through church visits, community barbecues and Friday night clubs etc. Following our departure the Church want to continue to serve the Abbeyfield Community as it is able.
However until we leave if we can be of any help as always, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Every blessing. We will miss you.
Graham and Pauline.
Abbeyfield Community Church
Abbeygate Street, Colchester,
Fridays 6:00 -7:00pm
KiDZ A children's club for those in school years 3-6.
Fridays 7:30 - 9:00pm
Elevate A drop in youth group for those in yrs 7-11.
We also host lifegroups throughout the week, find us on facebook to find your nearest.