Restoration and Reordering ‘Opening new paths to faith’
Our Arch Deacon, the Ven. Phil Andrew has inspired St Lawrence Church members to be visionary in how our church building can accommodate and work with everyone’s requirements into the 22nd century.
Over the past five or six years, the fabric of St Lawrence has been ‘creaking at the seams’, with our electrical system being condemned at one stage, lighting being unreliable, the heating system being inadequate for the size of building, the floor tiles continually becoming loose, we have no internal toilets, we make do with a very small kitchen, the audio visual system is antiquated and we have insufficient rooms to accommodate our Sunday school children. The list could go on and on!
A presentation was shown on four separate occasions in October 2018 of the PCC’s thoughts on how St Lawrence could accommodate us all in the future. This presentation can be viewed in a separate browser window via this link (password RRPG).
Thank you to all those members of the church community for their considered and detailed feedback to the initial consultation. We received 119 completed questionnaires which have been analysed in some detail. We are now able to present the findings from the survey in the attached Summary Report . This information will be very helpful as we consider detailed options and prepare submissions to the Diocese Advisory Committee.
Read below the transcript from Archdeacon Phil Andrew’s presentation on the 3rd October 2018:
“I really would like to say well done to you and to your PCC for starting to think about the future of this beautiful building. Too many people don’t do that. They don’t think till it’s too late about the future of this God-given resource.
And two misconceptions that I commonly come across. And it may be just the church community and it’s not a misconception for you. It may be people from outside the community. The first is that so often we think that the church building is the church, and it’s not. That might sound a bit strange. This is St Lawrence church, but that’s shorthand for something else. Everywhere in the Scriptures where we talk about the church, we talk about a community of people. And the church of St Lawrence means the people who worship God, who join his mission and ministry here. And that means that our church buildings like parts of church life. But really they are instruments of the mission and ministry of the church. Or to put it another way, they’re vehicles of the church’s mission in Lechlade. And if you have an instrument or a vehicle, it’s great every so often to pause and say, “Is it fit for purpose? Or do we need to do something about it?” And that’s exactly what tonight and this process is about, and I commend it to you. When Andrew was installed here as a team vicar he made a Declaration of Assent, and some of you may remember that in the Declaration of Assent the church is told they need to proclaim afresh in each generation the Christian faith. And we need to ask, are our instruments, our vehicles there to help us or to hinder us proclaim afresh in this generation the good news, the wonderful news of God’s love?
The second misconception that I often come across is that the church building is a static thing. And it’s not. Of course it has stood here since 1470 something and it’s always been on this place, but this building has changed beyond recognition over the centuries. Bits have been added to it; there have been galleries. People will have come in here over the centuries and today they wouldn’t recognise this at all. And sometimes we get into the trap of thinking to be true to a building’s heritage we have to encapsulate it as it is now. And I want to say that that’s not at all true. As a life of this church, probably hasn’t had pews for much of its life. So in some ways what we’re aiming to do is to restore it to its original heritage as the community space in this town. I commend you to think in those sort of terms.
Cathedrals are often ahead of parish churches. They have restored themselves as the community space in a city. And I, off the top of my head, can’t think of one cathedral that still has pews. Not that it’s all about pews. There may be one or two, you can tell me at the end. But most of them have moved them out in order to recover that community space. And that’s what I really want to say. And I’d really encourage you to keep those thoughts in mind as we give the presentation tonight.”