The few months before our church opening were really frenetic, getting the building work finished, moving to the new building mid November and then getting ready for the official opening in December. Yet we praise the Lord for his goodness and how He has guided us and strengthened us through this busy time. 

The day of the official opening was certainly one to remember. It didn’t help that KLM chose to cancel many of its European flights the weekend of the inauguration thus making travel very difficult for some and impossible for others coming from Ireland and the UK. We were especially disappointed that Osy Graham couldn’t come. He is the one person in the Irish church who has been most involved in the building project, even as far back as the initial discussions about the possibility of building. We look forward to him and Vicki being able to come out in the not-too-distant future.

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If there was disappointment about some not being able to travel, there was great joy to have other dear friends present for the special day. The highlight for many was to have the original missionary team together again to celebrate the new chapter of the work which they began over 30 years ago. Amongst the ninety-six people present for the church service were mostly friends of members of the church along with some who had worked on the building site and some who had been part of the church in the past who came back to Nantes for the occasion. All our guests were offered a gift bag with a calendar, a pen with the church’s logo and web address on it, a voucher for a free Bible from the local Christian bookshop and a recently published book which explains the gospel in a very clear and challenging way. We are delighted that everyone accepted the gift bag. One lady forgot to take hers with her and sent a message asking if we could get it to her, especially the book.

After the service, most of the people present were able to stay for a delicious meal prepared and served by a team of helpers from the church. During the meal there was a brief time of speeches followed by a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving by former pastor, Malcolm Ball.
While this was truly a momentous day, the reality is that it was just the first page of a whole new chapter in the life of our church. The construction of the new building may be finished but the work of building Christ’s Church goes on.

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 Regarding this on-going work, we would ask you to pray for the following matters:

  • Give thanks for the different teams which have been formed to help with the weekly running of church life. Pray for the organisation of these teams in the weeks ahead.
  • We invited our neighbours to an event in the new building on 22nd March. Pray that the Lord would move in the hearts of our neighbours to give them a hunger for God and for his Word and that they would come to our services and Bible studies to have that hunger satisfied.
  • We plan to have regular times in the week where people can come in off the street to have a chat over coffee or tea. Please pray that people will be willing to take the step and that we will be able to respond to their questions and needs.
  • As many as fifteen of the people who worship regularly with us have started attending in the past 2 years. We plan to run membership classes for some of these people this year. Please pray that this would be a time of building up God’s people in their faith and love for the Lord. These folks come from a variety of different church backgrounds and some from none at all. Pray for pastoral wisdom as different questions are raised.

    We finish by thanking you for the many expressions of love and support which we have received from you over this past year. We are deeply moved by so many acts of kindness and love, not least your faithfulness in praying. Remember that we’d always be glad to welcome you here in Nantes if you should have the opportunity to travel.

Thanks to Andrew Lyttle for this article. 

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