Thank you for my time here at St. John’s Hoxton. I have been here as an intern for the last month (13th of March to 10th of April) as a part of my theology program at a Bible school in Stavanger, Norway. During my stay, I have met many wonderful brothers and sisters who want to serve our God where you live, in the local church and the local society. You guys have given me a little look in to your lives, your homes and your culture, and I am very thankful for that.
Part of the purpose of my stay was to know how you in Great Britain do church and the life with God. What I have seen through the youth group, Sanctuary, lent groups and children’s holiday club is that you are loving each other by giving space for the unique participation of every person. There is also a great focus on how the church can be a part of the transformation of a better Hoxton through community organizing as an example. And with the Sunday service, you gather as the bigger family to celebrate God and serve each other and new people who are coming.
I think one of the biggest differences between Great Britain and Norway, considering the church, is that people who call themselves Christian here are most likely active in faith. In Norway, we still have a lot of nominal or cultural Christians alongside the church. But the interesting thing is that the Scandinavian culture tends to follow where the British culture goes. Therefore by looking at your culture, it is almost like looking in to the future, from my perspective. The trend in the Western world is that Christians are more and more marginalized, just like other places in the world. But that is not a surprise if we look at what Jesus predicted for his followers. It seems like in this time that the marginalization of Christians and Christianity is more developed here in Great Britain than in Scandinavia, but we are not far behind. I just hope and pray that this will help us to be more dependent on God and live closer to him and each other. Many of the revivals in history began in a marginalized time. Maybe we will experience that in the future as well. Anyways, by being here for four weeks, I think God has showed me some good things to bring back to Norway.
My main task here in St. John’s has been to look in to Sanctuary and find out how we can measure the fruits of the work there. The purpose of Sanctuary is to bring down the walls between the church and non-Christians. With Sanctuary, we want to find ways of bringing Jesus to our society. What I have found out is that the fruit is in the relationships established in, through and out of Sanctuary. During my stay, I have seen and heard stories and testimonies of people who have developed a relationship with Christ and people at Sanctuary. This is a joy! The tree shall be known by its fruits. But it is also useful to ask ourselves questions of the tree itself – what culture Sanctuary brings and the things that happen in Sanctuary to see if it is possible to reap more fruit. We can sow, plow and water the fields, and God gives growth.
Again, I will give thanks to the people in St. John’s for welcoming me with love and care, for showing me some of what God does in your lives, and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your worshipping community. Especially thanks to Revd. Graham and his family for letting me stay in their home. Thank you all for being a beacon of hope for Hoxton, through Christ.