After the frenzy of activities of the last few months (remember: Lent, Holy Week & Easter, May Festival, National Pilgrimage, internal reordering (Stage 1) and the Parish Feast in June with the re-consecration of the High Altar) things are slowing down a bit over the summer. A lot of people are travelling or on holiday, many of our students have gone home and the heatwave we are currently experiencing is slowing things down. This little blog is about things which happen in spite – and I hope you find it interesting. If you want to get involved please get in touch with me.
The Peace Garden looks particularly lovely at the moment and Mick and I have pressure-washed the slabs (which was surprisingly fun on a hot day). Tony has been doing some painting and worked hard to keep the flowerbeds looking lovely. If you like gardening we could really do with some help keeping the space attractive. You would be most welcome to adopt a space or a flowerbed to look after. Please message me or talk to me or Tony if you might consider this.
St John’s Chapel
A relatively small and manageable project over the summer is to redecorate St John’s Chapel. It has been a little bit of a neglected space in the past – in contrast to the Lady Chapel it has no wood panelling and it does not get used as frequently. The plan is to remove the carpet, repair and sand the floor and paint it in the same chocolate colour as the platforms with the pews on. I am afraid this will create some dust again. The walls need partially scraping and repainting and in the meantime the pews and the altar can live at the west end of the church without looking too horrible and disturbing. Fancy helping a bit with this over the summer? Please send me a message or talk to me and we fix a time to do some work together.
What has been bothering me for a while is that the imagery is all wrong: our church is dedicated to St Andrew the Apostle, and it is right and proper that an image of his is in church – but not in St John’s Chapel, where there is no image of St John the Evangelist. So the medium term plan is to move St Andrew to the west of the church when the black stage has been removed and place him between the two windows there – he will then be visible to anybody entering the church through either door. A new figure of St John will go into St John’s Chapel to make clear the patronage of this space.
Looking for a suitable figure I have to admit that most St Johns one can buy are fairly horrendous. The one everybody seems to like is currently in a shop in Lourdes and is called ‘St John at Calvary’ (standing under the cross with Mary – which would be exactly right for the chapel opposite the Lady Chapel). I like the figure a lot and unfortunately it costs £1500, which for a fairly tall wooden figure is appropriate but nevertheless a lot of money. I wonder whether you wanted to contribute something towards it? 😊
During the first week of August the encaustic tiles and the terrazzo steps leading up the High Altar will be professionally cleaned. The tiles have been hidden under concrete and PVC tiles for many years and suffered a fair amount of damage – my hope is that they will look a lot better after cleaning and repairing.
Similarly the terrazzo steps up the altar have suffered over the past 100 years since their installation in 1921. If you compare the two beige tiles in the picture you can hopefully see the difference between a cleaned tile and an untreated one. I am very much looking forward to seeing the result of this.
One of the challenges of growing in numbers is that not everybody knows everybody any more. A small thing I want to do to help us to build relationships is to have everybody for lunch over the next few weeks and months (if you want to!) and bring groups of people together who don’t necessarily know each other. A beautiful baby always helps to brake the ice, but I cannot promise to have such distinguished guests every time!
I do wish you all a restoring and restful summer and safe return if you travel.