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On Sunday, I had the joy and privilege of being able to preach at a small Anglican church that meets in the Swedish Chapel in Istanbul (it is on the compound of the Swedish consulate – many independent and newer churches have to meet in diplomatic or foreign-owned buildings because it is so difficult for Turkish Christians to get access to property in Turkey). They are a small group, but they have been meeting (in various different shapes and forms) here for a number of years.

Engin, the pastor, told me about a Sunday in the early 90s: he was leading a service whenan elderly man came in half-way through and sat down at the back. And for the rest of the service, he was silently weeping. Afterwards, Engin went to talk with him to find out what, if anything, was wrong.

It transpired that he was an Armenian Christian who had been a member of a small community of believers that met in the building back in the 50s. He had since emigrated to the USA where he had been living since. He was just passing through Istanbul on business that weekend, so he decided to pop into to see if anyone was still meeting in the chapel. He was overwhelmed by what he found – because back in the 50s, he had prayed that the day would come when Turkish believers would be meet in the building. Back in the 50s, that seemed almost like an impossibility – simply because there hardly were any. But in the 90s – and since – the prayer has been wonderfully answered. Amazing!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the encouraging story.

  2. Perhaps there’s a lesson for the so-called Christian West. Remember the Wedding Feast parable? The “decent” people all had excuses not to go; so the instruction was to “go out to the highways & byways and compell them to come” Luke 14:16ff. When those who are invited are unwilling, the invitation is extended to others. The fancy cathedrals of the West are often the mausolea of faith that has become tame and static. The beating heart of faith is the beating heart of Christ.

  3. What and inspirational story. Got more from that than reading endless comuniques and statements from the Primates meeting in Alexandria!

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