Appreciating Mornington congregation
The reason I am standing here today is simply because David and I are
probably the newest members of the congregation.
Why, having moved to Dunedin from Southland, did we choose to align ourselves with this congregation? There are several reasons.
It is not coincidence that Mornington Methodist is the church we found so welcoming in this past year. It is the result of 125 years of faithful proclaiming of the gospel, and the loving commitment of hundreds of men, women, boys and girls, to living that gospel within the community of Mornington and beyond.
We enjoy this lovely building, fruit of the vision and sheer hard work of so many. The windows which flood the interior with light invite the world to come inside, while encouraging those inside to look outward to the world. The simplicity of the architecture, the exquisite embroidery, the austerity of the candle holders, and the beauty of the floral arrangements combine to create a welcoming sacred space.
Music has obviously been a significant part of worship over the years, evidenced by the inclusion of the old pipe organ in the new building. This has made possible the retention of traditional music held dear by many, at the same time making way for contemporary music with contemporary words. Indeed this church pioneers the introduction of many new musical creations. The heritage of choral music is something we both appreciate, and not an insignificant factor in our choice of place of worship.
Most importantly, though, it is the people forming this congregation who make it the unique place that is Mornington Methodist Church. What an interesting and eclectic bunch! Many different backgrounds, outlooks and theological perspectives are all held, honoured, and respected. We enjoy the importance placed on the inclusion of children, who clearly feel safe and accepted.
The form of service holds appeal because liturgy and spontaneity are not considered mutually exclusive. Worship is a blend of the formal and the informal, of humour and reverence. A place where one generally encounters God at some point in the service.
All this is possible because the people of Mornington Methodist have a strong sense of where they have come from and who they are, their heritage of Methodism providing a sure foundation on which to build new methods of expressing their faith. An outward-looking faith, unafraid to question, unafraid to involve itself in the community, unafraid to address injustice in whatever form, and unafraid to experience God in new ways.
These qualities have fostered in us a sense of belonging, enabling us to be a part of this faith community's journey, part of its heritage and, hopefully, part of its future.
Thank you for the way you have welcomed and included us.