A surprise engagement
Just to the right of my desk is a pair of wallpaper scissors spray-painted gold. Held between their blades is a short length of pale yellow ribbon. They have been there since November 20th, 2004, when our new church premises were opened. After years of prayer and planning, months of fundraising and construction – the time had come to open our shiny new premises to the public. At the time I felt it was very important not to invite a celebrity to do it. The story of all the sacrifice and faith which had built the new buildings was the church’s; and would not be invested with any special meaning by asking a stranger to come and cut the ribbon. In the end the local mayor and I cut the ribbon together – symbolizing the relationship of church and community. Hopefully, it is a symbolic act to which the church has sought to aspire in the intervening years.
Yesterday I had a phone call from Morrisons. Apparently, they wanted me to attend the opening of their new store in the town on Monday morning. When I phoned to check the details, it became apparent that I had not really understood what was required. Their invitation was not simply to attend the opening, but to cut the ribbon and declare the shop open. Nonplussed, I asked whether they didn’t want somebody ‘important’ to do it? They explained that as a company with community roots, the sense of community was important to them. Local researches had revealed the church’s place in the community, and hence the invitation.
With an eye on my golden scissors as I spoke on the phone I couldn’t really refuse, could I? Now, as then, its all about community…