Thursday, October 22, 2009

Opening day - part two

One of the highlights of the Centre opening for me was the opening of the Apple store, not simply because of all the up to the minute gleaming new tech' products on sale, but the way it happened. There was a wait of half an hour after the Centre opened, and a long queue formed outside the closed doors. Inside, a large team of tee shirted sales team stood close to the windows cheering and clapping the customers on the outside with wild enthusiasm. Later, when all the free Apple tee shirts had been given out, and the craziness had died down, I went in for a look and chatted with one of the sales team and quizzed him about this. He said it was a tradition at the opening of any new Apple store worldwide. "We love or customers" he said, "They're most important to us, as we have so much we want to share with them." Thkis reminded me of the words of Steven Madeley at last weeks Retail Partnership Board meeting, when he said there would be no celebrities officially opening the Center. "Our customers are the celebrityies" he said. Is this were he got it from? I wonder.

After the midday Eucharist, I walked over to St John's Priory headquarters in Ocean Way for a meeting of the Order's Chaplains, gathered from all over Wales. Then, back home by teatime to catch up on the office routine of the day, prior to going out for the evening to the St Davids Centre post-launch party at the SWALEC. This was for all the construction teams, back office people and their City counterparts. Some, though not all, had been there in the morning as well. The 'do' was held in the multi-functional area that serves as the indoor practice nets enclosure. A huge area, large enough to contain a stage (for a 70's soul tribute band) fifteen yards of tables laden with food, a free bar of the same length on the opposite side of the room, and enough space for five hundred or so party goers. This was the first time I had ever seen most of the people there out of work and without a hard hat or hi-viz jacket.

Archdeacon Peggy also got an invite, and this gave me great pleasure, as I had an opportunity to introduce her to many of the people I've got to know in the city centre over years past. I had the impression she was in her element. This was a very satisfying experience for me as it was the only time in seven years any such opportunity to share my daily life and work experience with someone in church management above me has been possible. The only other comparable occasion was at the opening of the new churchyard garden and dedication of gates, except that event was just a formality in the middle of a busy working day. Knowing that someone up there is in the picture will make a great difference to my contentment at moving on next year.

There is something special about being a witness and an ambassador of the church in the world of everyday work. It grieves me that this ministry is now widely undervalued, compared to the way it was when I was first ordained.

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