Two words came to mind as I sat in Trinity Anglican church this morning. They were ‘beauty’ and ‘brokenness’.
This is because there are two ways of seeing this church.
On the one hand, I could see an aging population, a building in need of maintenance, and a congregation still healing from recent conflict.
On the other hand, I can see a church that has been serving downtown Barrie for 135 years, and is the repository of a rich spiritual heritage. Three specific things struck me with their beauty this morning. They were architecture, music and theology.
Firstly, architecture. This strikes you as soon as you walk into the building. Trinity has the richest interior of any church I’ve visited so far. The stained-glass windows, the ornate woodwork, the vaulted ceiling and the banners all collaborate in silently telling the gospel story.
Secondly, music. Parts of the service were accompanied by guitar and vocals, and others by the choir. There is something special about well sung choral music, and I was particularly touched by their rendition of Ubi Caritas after communion. The English text, ‘where charity and love are, God is there,’ was very appropriate for the theme of the service.
Finally, theology. Through the singing, the prayers and the sermon, we explored the idea that love for God and love for one another is inextricably linked. During the coffee time after the service I posed my usual questions about the purpose of church. We talked about the church being a community where we can both receive the grace and love of God, and also be inspired to live out God’s love towards others.
Trinity also lives out her calling to minister to the city by hosting the David Busby Centre, a drop in centre serving the homeless and at-risk of downtown Barrie. Nearly every church I’ve been to so far has mentioned serving the poor as being a key part of what God is doing in the city. Trinity is one of the places where this ministry is being lived out.
This is not a church without challenges, or brokenness, or pain. But there is still something beautiful about what God has done here for more than a century, and what He is still doing.