Changing Church but not too much

We’ve got Permission to Experiment!  Yes, I accept that I may sound overexcited about this, but in church, we can’t just move things about when we feel like it – we have to get a Faculty from the Diocese to make permanent changes.  The idea is to stop clergy/wardens/congregations from accidentally removing something of particular value/significance (oooo, those lovely Victorian pews!).  But at All Saints, which was built in the 1950s, we are looking at some major refurbishment, and so a Permission to Experiment means we are allowed to move things around to see what works and what doesn’t.  We’ll still have to get a Faculty for any permanent changes when we have worked out how we want things.  

Yesterday was a bit like trying to rearrange house furniture, but on a grander scale.  We were looking at the Chancel (where the altar is) and took everything out (apart from the altar itself) and gradually put back just the stuff we really need.  We’ve moved where the president and deacon will sit, which means that worship will be led slightly differently – I’m just hoping I’ll remember where I am meant to be, and when.  It all looks a lot less cluttered, and the liturgy should flow better.

The downside is that we are bound to upset someone with the changes.  Most moveable stuff in a church has been given by someone for a particular reason – in memory of a loved one, to celebrate a life event or whatever.  So moving that object, which is loaded with significance far beyond its function, can lead to trouble.  Yes, the pedestal with the cross and flowers on it meant that the minister was invisible when they sat down, so we’ve moved it to the back of church where it looks great by the font – but it means that people will no longer sit and look at it.  (They’ll have to look at the presiding minister instead!).
And no one ever sat in the chairs, so we have moved them to where they will be used (I might regret that, they are carved wooden “thrones” and distinctly uncomfortable, and now I will have to sit on jokes please?)

We are waiting for the battles to begin….


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