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Developments at St Mary’s Offer Opportunities for Future

Wednesday 10th April, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

by Reverend Christopher Harrison | tags: , , , ,

As the new floor nears completion Christopher Harrison explains why it is so important

Life in our parish in recent weeks has continued to be dominated, inevitably, by the progress of work at St Mary's. The stones have now been laid in the largest two areas in the church, along with the north and south transepts, and this already enables the classic beauty and elegance of Tess Jaray's design to be clearly seen. At the time of writing, it is hoped that the church can be fully open by the last fortnight in April. The overall impression is quite spectacular, and, as far as I know, unique amongst churches.

I must reiterate our thanks to all those who have worked amazingly hard to realise this complex project, working to tight deadlines as well as being flexible and creative in dealing with the problems that have inevitably arisen from time to time. As the year progresses, we should see a brand new sound system as well as additional chairs and, at some point, enhancements to the lighting. Thanks to some work by St Mary's churchwardens and Len Simmonds, discussions are beginning as to how we can now make full use of the church in its role both as a holy place and centre of worship, but also as a building which can serve the city in other ways. We need to remember, of course, that the worship of God should always lie at the heart of St Mary's, but it is also possible to find other ways of bringing people into the church, which are not necessarily primarily 'religious' in nature. Faith is a journey, and it is important that we give those in the wider community an incentive to take even a few steps along that journey, by welcoming them into St Mary's for a broad spectrum possible purposes. This will have to be managed properly, and not compromise the essential nature of the church, but we should also remember that Jesus would surely not want a church to be the preserve of just a few members.

Rachel Shock's perceptive article about 'welcome' in this magazine is very pertinent here. As we enter the Easter season, there is a lot to celebrate as we rejoice in the message of life emerging from death, and hope from despair. Jesus' rising from the dead, however alien a concept this may be to the secular world, symbolises the process of new birth that lies at the heart of the universe. Even though spring may sometimes be delayed, as we ponder on the unseasonal snow towards the end of March this year, we must never give up hope. As the economy, both nationally and locally, continues to falter and decline in some respects, there is new growth in others. After a decline in traditional churchgoing over many years, there are people of all ages who are not satisfied with secular life and values and who see the importance of spiritual values and of God. We need therefore to be prepared, as a parish, to be imaginative as we respond to these trends, not losing sight of our heritage but strengthening the Church's place in today's world and amidst its contemporary needs and concerns. By virtue of our location at the very heart of Nottingham, we in this parish have both a huge responsibility but also a great opportunity in this regard.

Wishing you all every blessing during this Easter season.


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