We dined at the old Guildford on Friday: not so much for its food as its story.
In 2008, this 120-year old building was completely gutted by fire. Even the roof collapsed, leaving only the unstable façade. The derelict structure looked like it would fall if it wasn’t demolished.
Local residents rallied to ensure their historic icon survived. To demonstrate their support, people hung socks on the fence surrounding the façade. It was a sea of socks.
Eight years later, the rebuilt Guildford Hotel is open again. We had to arrive early to get a table. They left some of the charred upper beams in place, honouring the story of restoration.
There’s something reassuring about a community that gets behind a restoration project like this. Is that the way you think of the church? The world is full of wrecked lives and communities, but we’ve been given some good news—something about God restoring his damaged creation.
At an individual level, we feel inadequate to bear such a message. We’re so conscious that we ourselves are still under restoration, and the scars are all too visible. I think the guys at the Old Guildford got it right: you don’t have to hide the scars; they’re part of the restoration story.