The table after the last morning service communion to be held in this place since 1883... at least until we return in a couple of years time.
This morning we began a month of 'lasts' as we prepare to vacate our premises at the end of the month so that they can be (DV - or at least city council planning department willing, whichever is the more significant) redeveloped into a fantastic new facility to serve us, and those who follow us, into the next 130+ years of life at the Gathering Place.
We wove together our normal Sunday worship with a Special Church Meeting in which we authorised those who serve as Charity Trustees to sign necessary legal paperwork just as soon as it is finalised. We also expressed thanks to our longest served Member as she retired from leading our Pastoral Team... a woman whose family were among the earliest worshippers here. And then we shared Communion... our battered wooden table clothed in white linen and laden with significant symbols... words I'd written specially, and words of scripture... we ate, we drank, we remembered... and we moved forward.
It was, for me, and I think for others, a significant moment... perhaps that's why spontaneous applause rang out after the ballot was announced... perhaps that's why I observed a few folk shed a tear, and even became momentarily choked myself... it is certainly why I decided on the spur of the moment that we'd end by singing the doxology together.
The first of the lasts... The next two Sundays I am away on leave and the "pulpit" will be filled by loved and trusted friends of this congregation before I am back for the very last Sunday in the 'old' place.
As we sang at the end of the service, "it's from the old we travel to the new, keep me travelling along with you".
A chapter concludes, but the story continues...