Sunday, July 06, 2008

Back to work 'in progress'

I used the bike to get to church this morning having been warned by Philip in an email that more of Trinity Street was dug up for re-paving, thereby restricting the parking possibilities - so why make it worse? A good deal more paving has been done during my week away, on the Working Street side mainly.
I found all the sacristy furnishing piled up and sheathed in plastic. While I was readying myself for the Parish Eucharist, I could hear the sound of scaffolders at work outside, erecting a structure to give access to the east wall and window of the sacristy, now that it's time for the builders to work on attempting the stabilise foundations and sort out cracking masonry and tracery. Soon the oldest window in the building (c 1840) will be extracted for reconstruction - sections of stained glass have been pulled apart by movement in the structure of the tracery. Vital conservation work. Thank heavens we can still afford it, due to monies received from the liquidation of the assets of the old Rectorial Benefice.
We had a PCC meeting after the Eucharist, and discussed the how the cost of the redecoration and refurbishment work done so far needed to be managed. Such a complex business, I'm glad there are others who are more on the ball about this than I am.
After Evensong I had a visit from the young Malaysian couple who are due to marry at St John's on Tuesday. They are both students and live in Landmark House next to St James'. She is of a Buddhist background and he is in a process of Christian conversion. As foreigners with permits to reside for their studies, a civil wedding is not open to them, but under Church law they can still marry after banns, and civil society accepts this, since Church law regulating marriage pre-dates the Marriage Act of 1832.
For once both live in the Parish, unlike a couple wanting to marry next year in their 'favourite church', neither of whom are resident but are prepared to apply for an Archbishop's license to qualify. It's a pity anyone has to jump through such hoops to marry at the church of their choice.
The church is not going to surrender its concept of parochial territory any time soon, and its rights to marry are unfortunately tied to that, while the whole of modern culture is in the business of dispensing with traditional ideas of place because of the ease of ability with which people live, work, play and celebrate in different places. Added to the impact of easy travel is that of the internet, which is often referred to as abolishing distance because of the efficiency and ease of communication no matter where people are in physical reality. It's quite difficult to meet people 'where they are', and respond to them pastorally, given the restrictions tradition imposes upon us today.

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