This is a picture that John Lampers took of the inside of St M’s. I’ve posted it so that you can see the boxed pews. This is our worship space.
Today was a fifth Sunday in the month. A time when the whole benefice joins together, except the congregations that are not hosting the service tend to treat it as a Sunday of!!
The draw today was that we had our mission partner (from the Sudan) here to preach and afterwards there was a bring and share lunch in the village hall.
When I lead a service here I stand at the reading desk of the three decker pulpit and look down upon everyone in the box pews. As I was redundant this morning (there really in no room up at the tiny altar for a priest, two chalice assistants and a deacon) I decided to see what it is like to sit trapped in a boxed pew.
It is horrible! For a start you feel separated from your neighbours so you might as well be worshipping on your own. It was freezing again. There are very few places where you can see the altar. It’s too far away anyway and God felt miles away too. No wonder everyone looks thoroughly miserable in church. It is such a lonely experience.
This is a beautiful historic building. One of a few that hasn’t been vandaliseded by the Victorians but it is a very difficult space in which to meet God.
We couldn’t move the box pews so our response has been to build a room in the church yard. We only wish we had built it a bit larger. There is just about space to hold family services in it but the space has become self limiting.