Well, the snow of the past few days may have prevented many people from coming into the city in their usual shopping routine, but by Sunday, things were back to normal, with a decent average attendance at services, morning and evening. At Evensong we had a small ceremony in which the Bell Tower Captain for the past fourteen years (actually sixteen, because he did two years unofficially), Richard Hall, handed over the old bell tower door key to his successor Bob Hardy, in the presence of a number of the ringing team. After the service we had refreshments in the South Aisle, for the second time in the day - only this time with a glass of wine - to mark the occasion, provided by our indefatigable tea room co-ordinator Pauline Grainger, who has a sure-fire touch for lifting an occasion by the judicious application of just the right amount of food and drink. Richard, who is Vicar's Warden and Secretary of St John's Friends, is taking on the task of editing a new Parish magazine that will present our life and new identity to both members and visitors. The first edition will be out next week, and hopefully soon after that, a web-link to it, as well as the link to 'Capital Ideas'.
Talking of which, the latest edition has gone down well amongst those who have received it so far, in church circles and among members of the City Retail Partnership, at today's monthly meeting. The news it contains about the redevelopment work going on was more up to date at the time of publication last week, than news from the official sources which have been somewhat slow in promoting their own enterprise. Only in the past couple of days has the re-vamped St David's Two website gone live, with feeds from their two static webcams publicly accessible. It was actually quite useful this afternoon. I was able to check on demolition progress, to see if it was worth my while going back into town in the rain for a few more interesting photos. I'm going to put these into a few web pages in the next few days, so that it's possible for people far and wide to check the course of the work without getting cold and wet, or crossing the world. They'll tell a story from a little closer than a web cam, and from a different angle.
The role I have as unofficial city centre missioner is able to take a fuller shape, now that I no longer have responsibility for the two Cathays Parish Churches. I have a little of the freedom to explore, enquire and think creatively that I really need in order to flourish. I have time to spend with people, loitering with intent, camera in hand, chatting to passers by, answering questions on an ad hoc basis, offering encouragement, support and a little eccentric humour into the city mix. 'Knowing and being known' is an essential component of a pastor's life, and it never takes up enough real time, unless you are as fortunate as I am with the opportunity I've been given. We may not instantly get city people back into the church, but slowly humbly, I dare to believe the church is getting back into the heart of the city, where it always belonged. But, like evey other bit of precious heritage, if you're not active in maintaining it, you risk losing it. So thanks boss, for giving me this to be getting on with.