I don't normally speak of the specifics of the parish church and her life, because I don't have the right to talk about others without their say so, especially as I am one of their priests. I just don' think it is right to use the parish as my blog fodder.
But today I am going to break my own rule. I have just returned to my modest abode after a morning at St. Mary's. Look at the picture - a magnificent little edifice! Costly, though ...
But don't let me keep you in suspenders - there is a reason why I am smashing up my ailing keyboard for your entertainment.
I have left a church with a toddler group in full-swing, comprising at least thirty kids and their chauffeurs - all singing Tommy Thumb and chasing bubbles. I left a group of twenty older kids, with their teachers, enjoying cups of squash after I toured them around the church, the bell tower, and after messing around with incense and the sanctus-bell. They drew their pictures and asked some very good questions, while I tried to fill in the blanks. In the office, the administrator was dancing the dance of insanely stressed while her accumulated technologies conspired against her. In there too was an engineer trying to sort the issues, the 'folding-ladies' folding the pew sheets, and the faithful admin volunteer working with the one functioning photocopier. In the other corner of the church a gathering of adults who attend a support group were sipping the tea and chatting, and in the other corner of the church the Refectory was trading nicely. The sun cast into the building through our stunning windows, and the church was buzzing. One of the teachers had told me how she had warned the kids on pain of death to respect the silence of the church - and how good it was that it was so busy and active (and friendly), and how much the kids felt at home and relaxed.
Like so many churches, we have our little problems. We try to get along as well as we can, and so often it comes down to money. Our church is expensive because we insist on keeping it open for everyone to visit, all week. Heating and lighting are not cheap, but we must provide this place. Now this is not an initiative that we can label and put into a self-starter book. I can't market this across the world with subsidies from the pasta industry and by which I can achieve international celebrity. I doubt I could even talk about it very much save for on my own blog. Simply, we opened the church and people came in. They saw and they liked. On this bright Friday morning in March, a church was full of people, all busy, all there by choice, and all happy to be there.
It's not rocket science, it only costs more.