Sunday, June 08, 2008

Reclaiming space

I was able to ride into the city centre on my bike for the eight o'clock service this morning, in warm air under a blue sky - the first good day for this kind of Sunday start for ages. It was pleasing to see that Trinity Street was no longer blocked by the emergency works to enclose the frontage of O'Neill's pub before restoration work begins. An excellent start to the day, as it meant that churchgoers didn't have to spend an age finding the nearest point to the building at which they could park - still too few buses to use to get to church on time.

The only spoiler was the appearance of a bright red graffiti tag on the newly erected hoarding around the pub, which had not yet been completely painted white to give a visual lift to the street. If only the city's graffiti artist project hadn't been suppressed last year. That was a big mistake. For a while, defacing scribbles on buildings all but disappeared, now it's returning because the kids who do it haven't got anything more creative and prestigious to do. The devil finds work for idle hands, as my mother used to say.

At the 9.30am Eucharist my predecessor Canon 'Mac' Ellis baptised his grandson, to the delight, not only of his family but all the regular congregation members who watched his children grow up in and around the church. It was lovely to have such a sunny day to light up the newly painted interior of the building. Philip, in the new role as administrator has not only done a superb job liaising with the builders and decorators over the past five months, he has also made it his business to liberate the building from lots of old junk gathering in quiet corners, adding to the feeling of clutter. He uses his gentle diplomatic skills to great effect, even succeeding in getting the support of the one of the Council's key rubbish removal supervisors to take stuff away that would have taken an age to dispose of piecemeal in the back of a car. There is a sense of spaciousness about the building at the moment that reminds me of one of those well kept German city churches. It's a great aid to contemplation.

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