I guess we all know that the church is not the building but rather the people. Well, I am reminded on a regular basis that Grace Church is made up of some really quite extraordinary people. Let me tell you about one of our oldest members and our very youngest.
One of our more ‘mature’ members is Rex Moore. Until recently he was part of our Bognor site, although he now lives on the Isle of Wight. Rex’s story is wonderful. Many years ago Rex happened to meet a young lady called Eira. Rex was not a Christian whereas Eira had been a Christian from a young age. As he didn’t share her love for Jesus, she gently gave him the brush off and they went their separate ways.
Decades passed, but Rex always believed that Eira was the girl for him. No other potential match seemed to compare with Eira, and Rex never married.
Then in 2010, a friend invited Rex, now in his 70s, onto our Alpha Course. As a result he became a Christian and has been a member of Grace Church ever since.
Last year, through a mutual friend, Rex and Eira happened to meet again. Eira was delighted to learn that Rex had given his life to Christ and could see instantly that he was a transformed person. They fell in love and in the Autumn of 2016 they were engaged to be married.
Then the story took a sad turn. No sooner had they got engaged than Rex was diagnosed with cancer of the lining of the lung. His health deteriorated quickly over Christmas and he was soon confined to bed. Rex and Eira began to make plans for how they could get married at Rex’s home as soon as possible. In the end, Rex was taken into Worthing Hospital. The chaplains from St Barnabas House hospice and the hospital were wonderful. A wedding was planned within 24 hours. Several people from Grace Church were able to be with them to share their happy day. Rex had been waiting for this day all his life, and they were both so happy.
Eira’s home is on the Isle of Wight and Rex has now moved to a nursing home on the Island while some modifications are made to the house to make it suitable for Rex’s ongoing care. Please continue to pray for Rex and Eira, that they have many months of married life together.
At the other end of the age scale is Micah Bell. He is not yet one week old. He was born to Greg and Becky on Sunday. As births go, this one seemed quite straightforward. But later in the day it was clear that Micah was not holding down any food. By Monday morning he had been admitted to St Richards Hospital. By Monday afternoon he had been transferred to Southampton, and by Monday evening he had undergone surgery to realign his intestine.
I went to see Micah on Tuesday. He is such a tiny package of glorious perfection. Full of tubes and surrounded by monitors, but undeniably and breathtakingly awesome. Even in all his smallness and vulnerability, I was overwhelmed by the strength in this young life. Every new life is a miracle of creation. That Micah should still be with us is a miracle of God’s protection and healing hand. He continues to progress well, but let’s all pray for his complete and speedy healing, and in particular that his digestion works as it should from end to end.
Two extraordinary people, old and young. Chances are that your age lies somewhere in between. Chances are that you are an extraordinary person too.