House groups - a Church without a Church

There began a five-year period of ‘wilderness’, while the Church people had to relocate from Corporation Road. This 'House Group Period' was transformative for the worshipping members. While studying prepared texts in small groups, discussion led them from ideas about how to build a new church much like the old one, to thinking back to the very roots of the Christian Church.

We began in House Groups studying the hundred or more ideas in the New Testament concerning the nature of the Church.
We used a pamphlet of the Congregational Church, entitled, 'What is the Church for?'...One of the first questions it presented was whether in the second half of the twentieth century, the Church needed buildings at all.
The change from 'Corporation Road' to 'Community House' was not occasioned so much by the change of building as through the changing life of the church that House Groups had initiated. Those members who were not wholeheartedly involved had unwittingly absented themselves from the pilgrimage, which denied them an understanding of the vision which inspired the new building.
– Cyril Summers
To mark the occasion of the return of the congregation to Stage One of Community House Cyril wrote a pageant, which was performed at London Street Church,
This is the story of a people without a House of God,
A people without a home,
Who, being homeless,
Began to build a home.
Not for themselves,
But for all who are homeless.
All communities need a centre,
A place of meeting,
And supposing it were a centre of compassion,
A centre of understanding,
A refuge of comfort,
A centre of happiness.
A place where people are always treated as people.
Supposing it were in fact,
A centre of Christian life and witness.
You could well call this short extract, ‘The Vision’.

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