Attendances at Billingsley and Glazeley are looking good, a near doubling of attendance at Glazeley over the last 18 months and a trebling at the 8am Billingsley communion. The actual numbers are perhaps less impressive; around 12 people at Glazeley and 6 at Billingsley, but I like to dwell on the positives.
Perhaps just as significant is what has happened to visitor numbers, at least at Billingsley, which we keep open in spite of thefts. In February we had 15 distinct names in the visitor book, more than double the congregation over that month. Now this is probably exceptional and I doubt we will see those numbers sustained, but it does demonstrate the power of a building to attract people who I suspect would never attend a service. Reading the comments in the book it is clear that those who came were grateful to find the building and many commented on the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that they found. At least to a degree, I think these people experienced something spiritual in their visit, a sense of what I would call the presence of God.
Jesus, on his entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, was rebuked by the religious authorities who were fearful of the clamour of his supporters. He replied that even if his followers were silenced, the stones themselves along the road would cry out their praises of him. Perhaps that is exactly what the stones of our ancient churches do.