Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A playground blessing

Five months after the demolition of the church hall, and re-furbishing of the site as part of Tredegarville school playground, we had celebratory opening ceremony this afternoon presided over by the Lord Mayor, and attended by church officers, a handful of parents and the school governors.

Chris and I between us devised a brief ceremony, and Father Roy Doxsey, chair of governors and neighbouring Vicar of St Germans led prayers of blessing, and sprinkled the football pitch section of the new playground with holy water. Then a couple of children went and marked the four corners of the pitch with crosses in chalk. The chill wind kept the speeches brief, and then we all repaired to the school hall for glasses of champagne and canapés.

The event was proposed by City Lofts, the developers who adapted the office block next door to the church for residential accommodation. The work took just over a year and since the site was right next to the school boundary, the impact upon the school was huge. Somehow everything managed to continue during the disruption and the result is an improvement to the entire surrounding area. It's just sad that the church had to close during this period.

If only we'd been able to continue maintaining it and opening up the development potential of the church through new uses, given the influx of new residents next door - already 75% of the 140 aparetments are taken. We may not have been able to re-build a worshipping congregation in the short term, but using the space for leisure and social activities to offer new local residents is a possibility we were unable to explore.

After the reception I had to open up to visit the meter house with the churchwardens to take readings to send to the electricity company. It's cold, dark, and empty, with a few signs of chaos due to the fact that no-one has needed or bothered to tidy up in there since the day of closure. It still appals me to think that such an opportunity for community enterprise has slipped out of our grasp, not just for lack of funds, but lack of shared vision and imagination.

We wait patiently to know what the future of the building will be.

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