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Opportunity knocks ...

Cowcliffe Methodist Church

"YOU know when I was a child the there were three places you couldn't see into," said Joan Milnes the effervescent 80-year-old local preacher I had the pleasure to share a pew with the other Sunday morning, "a betting shop, a pub and a church!"

How true.

Over the years betting shops and pubs have gradually opened themselves up to the outside world but for churches public worship has largely remained a private activity held behind closed doors or, in the case of Cowcliffe Methodist Church, an impenetrable porch.

"This porch just isn't inviting'" she sighed. "People should be able to come up and look into a church!"

Quite right, and to this end the congregation is fund-raising for a church "make-over" to transform a porch that frankly looks like small coal shed into an entrance that's entrancing and make it a church that opens out and invites in.

It was a mercifully warm and inviting place to be on that cold, crisp Cowcliffe morning as the Rev Gordon Turner, a "retired" minister from Dewsbury opened with a hymn that could have been an anthem to the church's "impenetrable porch".

Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible hid from our eyes.

Gordon took as his text Paul's first letter to Timothy.

"We cannot escape the debt we owe Jesus," he explained.

"God in Christ reconciles the world and rids mankind of the shackles of sin. God paid the price on our behalf. There was none other good enough"

And in conclusion he proclaimed, "Christ is stretching out his hands from the Cross to lead us to God and come to know life eternal."

If in its own modest way Cowcliffe Methodist Church hopes that by making its door a "window to the world", to reach out and reveal not conceal that divine revelation, then I'm certain for a welcoming church - opportunity knocks!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 11, 2004
Words:316
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