Eccles Congregational Church

The recent Northwest area Congregational Federation meeting was held at Eccles Congregational Church in Greater Manchester. The original church was demolished to make way for the motorway in the 1960s and the current structure built a little distance away. 

I'm not a fan of 60's architecture, there's too much grey concrete, flat roofs and cold expanses of single-pained glass. This is, however, the first time I've actually enjoyed this style. It speaks of an era in which the churches attempted to embrace and come to terms with modernity. Trendy vicars rethought morality and preachers de-emphasised the need to believe in miracles to make the gospel more relevant to modern folk. Of course it was a failure. The churches shrank and closed and modern people moved on to postmodernism. 
 
This spirit is best summed up for me in the 1969 hymn God of Concrete:
 
Words: Frederick R.C. Clarke 
and Richard Granville Jones

God of concrete, God of steel, 
God of piston and of wheel, 
God of pylon, God of steam, 
God of girder and of beam, 
God of atom, God of mine: 
all the world of power is thine.

Lord of cable, Lord of rail,
Lord of freeway and of mail,
Lord of rocket and of flight,
Lord of soaring satellite,
Lord of lightning’s flashing line:
all the world of speed is thine.

Lord of science, Lord of art,
Lord of map and graph and chart,
Lord of physics and research,
Word of Bible, Faith of church,
Lord of sequence and design:
all the world of truth is thine.

God whose glory fills the earth,
gave the universe its birth,
loosed the Christ with Easter's might,
saves the world from evil’s blight,
claims us all by grace divine:
all the world of love is thine.

Yes, we should be culturally relevant in the way we express the gospel. Its content, however, does need making relevant, because man's sin remains as powerful as ever.