On a recent trip to Buffalo General Medical Center I came upon this beautiful church on a busy street corner in a very beautiful section of the city. It was a long red light so I had ample time to gaze upon the beauty of this church and to consider its plight. It didn’t make much sense that it was closed. The area around this church was vibrant indeed. There were no indications that the building had been sold or that future development would be taking place. As the light turned green and I moved along, I noticed the beautiful windows that graced the sides of the sanctuary. Many were still in place except for a few that were boarded up due to vandalism. It seemed like such a shame that such a beautiful church in such a vibrant neighborhood could be closed.
As I made my way back to Baker, I couldn’t stop thinking about that church. My mind began to wonder as I considered what may have happened. Was it possible the congregation just became too small for the church to continue? Did the church lose its way by not anticipating the changes in the neighborhood it resided in? I wondered about the people that made up the body of Christ in that place. Did they stop caring for each other? Did they get so caught up in themselves that they lost their sense of purpose? Did they become so tired of doing church that they forgot how to be church? I’m guessing that the people of that church and the people of that neighborhood never thought that this beautiful house of God would become derelict in their corner of the city. Yet there she sits far from being the body of Christ she once was.
My mind turned to thoughts of Baker and the similarities we share with that church in Buffalo. We too have a very beautiful building in a beautiful part of a vibrant community. We too have very beautiful windows gracing the walls of our sanctuary. I’m guessing none of us currently nor our neighbors in the community could ever imagine that this wouldn’t be a house of God forever. There is no way this place could become derelict in our community, but could it? Ultimately we too, just as they did, have a choice to make concerning the future of our church. Thank God we still do have a choice for what the future holds for Baker Memorial UMC. We still do have an opportunity to anticipate that future and have a hand in creating it. The time is now to open our hearts and minds to the leading of God’s Spirit in these days leading up to Celebrate Baker 360.