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Once again I must begin with an apology for absence. In my defence the Christmas and New Year period has been as busy as ever. Add in illness that resulted in a few hours in A&E receiving intravenous fluids on New Year’s Eve, and I have many excuses for not putting fingers to keyboard. Now that the holiday period is well and truly over work and church are back to competing with family for my time, but we are back to the normality of there being just three of us in the house.

Despite illness we did manage to head north to stay with our oldest son and his family, when we were able to celebrate the New Year together with all of our children, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. We even enjoyed a few windswept walks on the seawall that runs alongside Scarborough’s North and South Bays.

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North Bay Scarborough – Daughter Beth in mid-flight!

North Bay is my favourite. It is quieter, and less commercialised. While South Bay has amusement arcades and restaurants (fast and slow food) North Bay has beach huts. Sadly on New Year’s Day not a single beach hut was in use. Perhaps the owners and tenants considered it to be too cold? If I lived in Scarborough I could imagine using a beach hut as my office, doors flung open so I could see the sea, whatever the weather. What is a beach hut for if not to be used? They cost enough to buy or rent!

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North Bay Scarborough on New Year’s Day 2017 – Beach huts all closed

In some respects I can see similarities between beach huts and churches. Churches cost plenty to sustain but the doors to most remain firmly closed for much of the week. The general non-church going population knows that churches exist, but most people consider them as places they visit for weddings and funerals.

What about the ever-decreasing percentage of the population that regularly attends a church? What do they think the purpose of church is? Should church just be a place for corporate worship once a week? Is that what God intended? A verse in Colossians spells out quite clearly what God intended.

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. (Colossians 1:6 NLT)

If our churches aren’t bearing fruit by changing lives through the sharing of the Good News then they may as well stay closed seven days a week. Or be sold off and converted into something more useful, just like one at Scarborough’s South Bay.

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South Bay Scarborough where a former chapel has been converted into a restaurant – The Christians are now next door!

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