Letters from 1 to 7 September 2008
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Trust opens churches
Thank you for this
week's essay on locked churches. How right you are! I recall a "coffee
table book" about London churches and cathedrals which
was given to me a few years ago. In the foreword, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote of a society he had founded whose purpose was to
help churches find ways and means to keep their doors open outside of service time. I wonder how successful the effort has been?
I loved the sentiments of John Mason Neale, and agree with them, but,
as rector of a church where, fortunately, people can have access all day long and into the evening throughout the week, I am
continually disappointed by how few take the opportunity. In addition to our Lady Chapel, we have a lovely garth, with flowers
and a fountain during the warm months, but I seem to be the only one to make use of it!
(The Revd) William Bippus
Marinette, Wisconsin, USA
1 September 2008
(Ed: Mr Lloyd Webber's society was called the Open Churches Trust.
Its website explains 'On December 1st 2006 the Open Churches Trust ceased
being an active organisation.')
No pink flamingos, thank you
I once had the pleasure of
serving a parish that was open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. While we were not located in a crowded urban area with all those
possible attendant dangers, we discovered one All Saints' morning that a very unwelcome visit had occured the night before.
Baptisms had been scheduled that morning for the second of the three
liturgies. In preparation for that happy event, a member of the altar guild removed the cover of the Font only to discover that
a large quantity of animal feces had been placed inside. After recovering from the initial shock, we finally succeeded in taking
the very heavy Font outside for as thorough a cleaning as we could manage. However, despite the application of any number of
cleaners, incense and vigorous scrubbings, (as well as numerous prayers), the marble of the Font, being the porous substance
that it is, continued to remind us of that incident for quite some time to come.
The good news that came out of this was that the church building continued
to remain open 24 hours a day and that unhappy and destructive prank was, thankfully, never repeated. Yet the incident did become
enshrined in the altar guild instructions for baptisms - always removed the Font cover well in advance!
Richmond, Indiana, USA
1 September 2008
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