Saturday 18 September 2010

The Eagle has Landed

The Vicar was not looking forward to abseiling down his churchtower; but he did it, and showed "the church in the public square" as the MP Desmond Swayne said paraphrasing Pope Benedict yesterday in Westminster Hall. Saturday is Market Day in Lymington, and Fr Peter Salisbury has never abseiled before - indeed is not fond of heights - but all credit to him, he did this to launch an appeal for the renovation of St Thomas', the parish church of Lymington.

Mr Swayne reminded the crowds that there are supposed to be more millionaires in Lymington than in any other town in the country; that it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom than for a camel to pass through a needle's eye; and that therefore we must empty our pockets for this good cause. Well, up to a point; but more of that later on the Anglo-Catholic.

The crowds were good humoured and appreciative, it seemed, for what he was doing. It was something of a prophetic action, reminding people the church is still there. In fact, you can hardly miss St Thomas', in its prominent setting at the top of the mostly Georgian High Street of the Town.

Over the top ............ Halfway down ........... And nearly there.
There were crowds to cheer him on, in cassock and safety helmet. Traffic came to a standstill. I even missed the live broadcast of this morning's Papal Visit. But it was possible to catch up later, for TV has been wall-to wall Benedict - great!

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Fresh Expressions

Well, it is all happening here in Lymington. The plans are approved, the congregation has had a chance to test the new chairs for comfort, and soon after Christmas the church will be closed for a few months while the exciting new developments take place. The Victorian benches (they are NOT pews, though mistakenly so called- they have no doors for a start) will be scrapped, the chapel in the South Aisle will become a very convenient storage area, the floor will be levelled and concreted, and then tastefully carpeted. Best of all, there will be a removable holy table instead of the present unwieldy High Altar, so that concerts and multi-media events can be staged. There will be a state-of-the-art sound and vision system. The Vicar, very wisely, has chosen next year, including Easter, for his Sabbatical. It will be for the newly priested Curate and such retired priests as are available to keep worship going. I fear this will not include me, thanks to a prior engagement with the Bishop of Rome. Naturally the daily celebrations, already reduced to five, will be further curtailed. Whatever Sunday Services continue will take place in the Church Hall.

To give all this a kick start, and raise the funding, there are events planned for this autumn. These include (see the poster at the top of this page, currently on view outside St Thomas') the Vicar abseiling from the tower. If he is well enough insured some minor accident (absit omen) might pay for the entire transformation. It is such a thrilling time for us all; I think I need to go and lie down to get over the excitement stirred up even by writing about it.

May I commend?

Once again Fr Hunwicke has hit the spot: what he writes about the choice by Rome of the Ordinary for England is very timely. I've added a few words in the Anglo-Catholic blog, so I won't repeat myself here: but do go to Fr Hunwicke's piece if you have not seen it already - and comment on it, if you will, for every blogger is happy to know how his contributions are received.

Sunday 12 September 2010

On the Edge

Falmouth is nautical and arty. We did both the shrines of these two aspects of the town's life, with a visit to the Maritime Museum (very hands-on, with aged dads pushing small children aside so that they could 'steer' the toy boats) and another to the Art Gallery. I am not sure if I should have photographed in the gallery, but it will be a little advertisement for them, and an encouragement for you to visit sometime.

Tom Early was a local artist, and one who, I'm sorry to say, I have not encountered previously, His pieces are large and bold and most entertaining - or so I thought. You must judge for yourself. Then there was a piece by David Andrew which simply, but very cleverly, made a design from Rocks.

The whole show is called The Edge, and it seemed good to time it just now as we wait on the visit of the Holy Father and the call not too many weeks from now from our PEVs to step over the edge. One lovely little opus was almost hidden in the top corner of the gallery; a cat trying to reach a dove perched just above it; but the cat was sliding down the wall, its claw marks there for all to see. I daresay it is a parable; for me it was just hugely amusing, with the cat looking timorously down over its shoulder. If you should be in West Cornwall, do get to the Gallery; and if not, have a look at

If you want another take on our Cornish visit - a bit more churchy - you will find it at

I have had trouble loading pictures to this blog, or you might have had a few more.