About ten years ago our church split in a very destructive way. People on both sides were hurt and some still struggle with the memory.
The group that left started a new church just down the road and then, a couple of years ago, merged with another. Over the last nine months or so, people who left Linden have started drifting back, culminating yesterday in the return of the man who was one of the instigators of the split.
It wasn't a shock - he'd talked to our leaders beforehand and they in response had talked to us, seeking opinions and feelings - but at one point yesterday morning I glanced across the room and all I could see were 'returned' faces. It felt as if the clock had not gone forward an hour but leapt back ten years.
When Chris asked me how I would feel about this man returning I was able to say, 'Fine, no problem,' and I stand by that, but I hope and pray that we've all learned from the events of the past.