It was a fine balmy evening and the bells of St George’s were being rung to celebrate St George’s Day when someone heard a distinct knocking sound………”that shouldn’t be happening” – so they investigated. And the news is not good. The bells which were last re-hung about 100 years ago now have so much wear in the headstocks (where they swing) that they all need repairing. As they have to be removed to do the repairs, it makes sense to have the bells tuned at the same time. Repairing eight bells is a major undertaking so the Church Council has decided to explore something else; we’re going to explore reordering the church interior as well.
So……….. new floor, moveable pews in the nave, new heating and updating the toilets and kitchen are each on the agenda. Might we also get solar panels on the south facing elevation of the roof of the 18th century extension hidden from view? Bradford Cathedral has got them so we’ll see. Nothing involves changing the externals of the church.
Unlike other churches, the parish church is a listed building so we can’t just dispose of it when it gets worn out. But nor can we decide to do stuff to it without proper consultation and quite right too. That consultation starts over the summer and will continue on two weekends in September when anyone and everyone in the parish will have their chance to air their views. The aim is to create a versatile space to be used for a variety of community activities along with our varied church services. So, on September 12/13th and September 19/20th the church will be open for talking about the role within our community of this 700 year old building.
And because we like to do fun things, we’ll be having two special events as well;
Saturday September 12th @ 2pm, a repeat of “Teddies & the Tower” where your favourite teddy (or cuddly toy) can scale the tower and whizz down the zip wire. Just like before, all teddies will have to undergo routine health checks before taking part and we will have stretcher bearers on site for any mishaps.
Sunday September 13th @ 3pm, we’ll have a Pet service. Please make sure you bring leads and cages and larger animals (horses and others) can munch grass outside whilst waiting for a blessing; and please don’t get confused and bring your pet on Saturday.
St George’s has stood in Littleport for a very long time and we have every intention of it standing here for many years to come. Please don’t be perturbed by these ideas; barring the external walls (and then not all of those) there is very little in the church that remains as it was when built seven centuries ago. These churches were not built so that one day they would be mausoleums to times long past. They were built to be living centres within their communities and it is quite possible to both adapt and preserve tradition.
With every blessing,
Rev’d Howard Robson.