I found myself in a meeting this week at Chichester Police Station. I was invited to attend to talk about how Sussex Police are looking to work closer with the churches. As you can imagine this ticked so many boxes for me I nearly imploded!
On arrival I was taken into a small room upstairs after being issued with a sticker to identify myself and a cup of Police tea. The walls were covered with pictures of people who were wanted. I found it really hard not to keep looking at the pictures just in case I might spot someone I know! After introductions with the Inspector and one of the Force Chaplains, the Sergeant kicked off as to why she had asked to meet with Roger and myself. “Sussex Police are looking to roll out ROC (http://www.redeemingourcommunities.org.uk/) Projects in every town and city. We realise that the Police are limited in what we can and should be doing therefore we would like to look at working with churches to change our towns and cities for the better.” I could not help but smile like a kid in a sweet shop! I actually pinched my self to check I was not dreaming and to my surprise I was definitely awake. She then asked, “Are you familiar with the story of Nehemiah in the Bible?” I gently nodded and she said, “this is the inspiration from which this idea is drawn. We need the Church to do two things like Nehemiah. Firstly we need help to re-build the City walls, as they are broken. Our society needs fixing, even the Prime Minister keeps stating this. The Church has people that can help fix our broken society. Secondly, like Nehemiah, we need the Church to pray for our towns and cities!” I was now more stunned than excited. I could not believe what I was hearing so I pinched myself again. She said, “I don’t really understand the prayer bit but I know you do and we need it.” I was then asked if we could help the other churches in the city get involved. I nodded again and all I could say was “we are in and we want to play our part, thank you for talking to us.”
I know I should not be surprised as I have prayed and lived towards moments like that over many years, but I was. Later that day I found myself repenting of being surprised by the answered prayers and dreams but equally thankful to our Father in Heaven for the surprise and keeping me on my toes.
He is truly amazing!