I had to miss the Countdown 2009 Executive meeting this morning, as Fr Roy asked me to cover the School Assembly and the 'class Mass' in St Germans with two year groups. With so many things about to happen as the Faith Focus group's public relations exercise for Christmas is now starting to gain momentum, it wasn't the best of meetings to miss. However, the Assembly and Eucharist were unavoidable pleasures as well as duties. The sun shone into St Germans and lit the place with serenity. The children sang and were well behaved. The regular group of oldies who attend just loved it, and so did I. Then, it was on to St John's for the midday Eucharist.
Work has now started outside the church on digging up the roadway adjacent to the church, prior to re-paving, so it gets a bit noisy on times. Slowly, piece by piece, section by section, the new granite replaces the old composite blocks. In November, the alleyway between churchyards will be done, and also the re-paving of the path up to the south porch. We've negotiated that the Council's commissioned work team should do the churchyard path and we'll pay them. The work is long overdue and we worry constantly about the possibility someone tripping over uneven slabs. We applied for a Faculty to do this over a year ago, but because of issues unresolved about paving materials in the churchyard, our application got held up, then mislaid. Now it has to be fast-tracked, and this is causing problems for everyone involved with a fast approaching deadline.
Conscientious attention to detail and conscientious attention to a bigger picture and getting the job done are not the best of bed-fellows. With the best will in the world, everyone wants a success they can be proud of. The city has been diligent in consulting and working with us for a positive outcome, so that the church domain doesn't stand out as an embarassment in the bright new public realm. Sad to say, I don't think this is always appreciated by the rank and file on the Diocesan Advisory Committee. Both religious and secular bureaucracies are capable of the best and the worst of performances in doing their duties. The question of how they might do better is rarely welcome. Everyone likes to think they are doing their best, and resents the thought that reform might be beneficial. As much as I have seen of both over the past few years, the more certain I am that none is really fit for the purpose of managing complexities of change in the present era in a really efficient way. But who has the courage, persistence and vision to re-design and reform the ways we work?