Over the last few weeks quite a few people have asked what it feels like to be leaving Haven House which has been our church home for the last 16 years.
Haven House was such an amazing facility that all started with a vision, as a dream really. It was back in 1994 that our founding pastor, Bob Bennett, first had this vision.......
"As I looked down there was a very large horseshoe shaped bay that was sandy and had boats moored in it and the water was smooth and rippling. I felt God say to me that He was going to create this wonderful Haven, where people were going to come from near and far to be refreshed, blessed, strengthened, and encouraged and then launched out into the deep."
We moved into Haven House in 1998 almost exactly 4 years after that heaven sent picture. It was definitely God's "more than we could ask for or imagine" home for HHCC. It was not long before we had the privilege of welcoming people from near and far. So many personal visions and dreams were realised, too many stories to tell, but we were living in the field of our dreams!
So first and foremost I feel grateful, thankful and privileged to have been part of such an amazing time in the life of HHCC.
But during the last few months a new picture has emerged and a new vision become clear with another nautical theme. This all started with a word we received about 8 years ago followed by several others during this year..........
"You are going to be leading many ships in the water. I see you have a ship and then you are in the waters. It will seem small compared to others around you but I see that you are going to be the one that will be able to go in between all of them and all of a sudden to bring direction and it is going to lead many ships"
"The picture I am getting is like a boat in the water. The boat is going through the water. At first it looks like it is by itself but then there are all these other boats that attach to it and say I want to join with you I want to join with where you are going."
"The picture was of a ship in the harbour a rather full looking heavy ship sitting low in the water. I felt the Father say that this was Haven House, that the hold of the ship was fully loaded with everything it could be possibly need and I got the impression that a long time had elapsed whilst the hold was being filled. Then in the picture another little ship appeared. This one was bobbing lightly on the water next to the heavy grey one - it was much smaller and was decked out with lots of bunting and flags etc, it was a lively little ship, readily manoeuvrable and was just filled with life and vivacity and itching to go"
"I had a picture of HHCC as a great big ship, that had foundered on the rocks. However the front opened (rather like a car ferry) and out of it shot a slim, streamline yacht. I believe this is a picture for now. You move away from the old, cumbersome structure into a new, slimmer more streamline boat, shaped for a new purpose"
Then in September there were two more separate pictures we were given within a few weeks of each other. The first was of a ship with its anchor being raised in readiness to go from the harbour and the other of Tower Bridge opening to let a ship (HHCC) go through.
What can I say, when you know it's His time for you to go, it's time to go! It's time for us to set sail, to leave the Haven, to leave the harbour!
In truth the last couple of months seem to have been the busiest days of our lives! Starting with our own house move across the town, followed closely by our church move from Haven House to our new office base. At times it has felt like we have been packing the hold of a ship that is not very big. We have only been able to take with us the essentials, what we need and what we are going to use. We feel a lot lighter and slimmer (not my figure unfortunately!)
God has clearly directed us personally to our new family home, and the church to our new office base and Sunday morning venue - all of which are in Apsley!
So right now there is a sense of great excitement and anticipation as this ship sets sails. It is now our time to go, to go near into our community and to go far into the nations. I am so looking forward to the journey where we get to live in the field of more God-given dreams.