I thought people might like to know where we are at in our next stage of reordering, as soon some more big changes are going to happen inside St. Thomas the Apostle, Elson and I hope and pray some things might happen outside as well.
The faculty for floor levelling, heating and electrics has been granted! The Post Office lost the Faculty Certificate (along with a Common License for Marriage) but the Registrar has replaced those. We are now in the process of commissioning the work whilst we await the delivery of the Infrared Heating Chandeliers:
The heating solution is quite innovative, and I think we are the first in the UK to have this particular chandelier. They deliver 10kW of heat per chandelier, and we are going to have 3 in our small church, each mounted centrally down the Nave and Chancel. Mounting them is almost as expensive as buying them.
At the same time, we need a massive increase in power and cabling. When I arrived at S. Thomas the Apostle there was no amplification, no PA, no hearing loop or anything. Now there are microphones, audiovisual projectors, loops and all sorts of other wires all over the place, and some of them are messy. I want them to be discretely hidden, and using a floor box kindly offered without charge by the nice people at Tass Cable Management the AV supply to the altar will be safe and tidy. I can run a laptop from the altar (and it does sometimes need that) or run audio and AV to the altar (we have a small TV on the altar to see what is on the screen behind me)
The power and conduiting will need to run around the whole of the inside of the church and concentrate power at the AV desk at the back. All of this stuff needs to be slightly lowered to accomodate the new floor level.
Next comes the floor levelling, in sections, done by Tony and Dave and everyone else who is available. This is a phased activity and I hope we can work on them over the rest of this year in between weddings, starting with the Creche area in the South-West quadrant. The technique is quite straightforward and proven, it might be a long job, or it might be quite simple. We will have to see.
By the end of the year we will see a warm, accessible, flexible sacred space which will be something that people will want to see and visit, will find engaging and condusive to worship.
Then we have to build a new font (I am looking forward to talking to people at the CRE exhibition about this, for I have funding) and a new church hall…
Building work can on one level feel like a distraction. It brings you as Priest into spheres which are unfamiliar, complex and at a level of finance beyond my comfort zone (too many zeros!), and it would be easy to see this as not Missional, and yet, everything done in the sacred space and too the sacred space is part of the Mission: by making the building safe and accessible it sharpens the tool of mission and supports the engagement with community which is at the heart of making Christ known in this place. The Church is not the building, but the building can be a drag on the church, and if we create a place where God can be drawn close to, where faith can be supported and nurtured, then all this building, reordering, planning and messing around becomes deeply missional.