Monday, November 12, 2007

Furniture, and 'God on Mondays'

We re-started 'God on Mondays' this afternoon. The first time since before the summer holidays - mostly due to my need for recovery time after my operation back in September. Eighteen adults and nine children - a cheering start. Kelly once more took charge of leading the worship, and I spoke about heroes and villains, with reference to the stories of Saul and David. I do enjoy being a story-teller!

Yesterday, leaving the Sunday service in school, I noticed lights on in the closed church. It turned out to be a watchman 'embedded' over the past week, due to further break-ins by homeless drug and alcohol abusers who end up sleeping rough because they have refused to keep hostel rules. After one weak spot providing a point of entry to the basement had been fixed a month ago, yet another was penetrated last week, and the watchman had been installed until it could be fixed properly. It's a sad desperate situation, which nobody can feel happy about. Unfortunately buildings taken over by such unfortunates become at risk from being burned down - not intentionally, but because intoxicated people can get careless and do foolish things without thought for safety.

Having chatted to the watchman, it occurred to me to take home from the church two brass war memorial plaques which had been taken down for re-installation in St John's, but the watchman wasn't very happy about this, not having been briefed that this might happen. So I returned home and emailed the man responsible to arrange permission for me to pick them up today instead, which I did after 'God on Mondays' had finished. One plaque, containing the names of World War One Fallen was quite heavy, probably 15 kilos. The Second World War one was much lighter in construction, different in style, and contained fewer names. I wondered about the difference in style and substance between the two of them. I imagined that the relative cost of the former was greater than that of the latter, representing the greater wealth of the St James' church community in the 1920's, than in the late fifties, when the latter was erected. Did the difference also represent a change in attitude towards remembering those who died.

Apart from the big plaque, a chancel screen was erected as a memorial to the Fallen of World War One. A Lady Chapel, designed by prominent local architect and artist George Pace, was erected as a Second World War memorial, along with the plaque. Now the church is finished as a place of worship, the chapel fixtures and fittings will be re-used. Some of them will go with the plaques into St John's War Memorial Chapel, as is fitting. The rest will go, as the Church Font has gone, into the school, to be used appropriately there.

The font was re-located just before half-term, in the school entrance lobby. It fits well, and makes a striking statement about this school being a Church School. One of the school's mums is expecting a baby, and is already lined up to be the first to present a child for baptism in this new setting.

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