Letter from Mtr Ruth following open meeting 27 January

We held an open meeting on Wednesday 27th January to present the PCC’s proposed plan for adapting the church building, to answer questions and to listen to each other’s views.  I am very grateful to everyone who came and spoke and listened.

It is a thing to celebrate that we are a church of lively debate and strongly held views.  It was heartening to hear from so many people who care so deeply about who we are and what we do.

As you are aware there are four main areas of work proposed to ensure that our church is inviting, fit for purpose and attractive for all who use it for religious, fellowship and wider community events.  Whilst many different views were expressed the overall response of the meeting was in favour of three of these areas: new office space and entrance; enhanced kitchen/servery facilities & additional lavatories at the back of church; and re-instatement of a Lady Chapel for small service, quiet prayer and pastoral meetings. 

The fourth area, re-configuring the chancel to focus on a single altar, provoked differing responses.  The celebration of the Eucharist is central to our worship and shaping us as God’s people so it is not surprising that we feel so strongly about how we celebrate.  

The current (temporary and reversible) changes were designed to get a rough feel for what the sanctuary would look and feel like if we implemented the plan currently with the PCC; and to experiment with what might work and what might not work when consecrating and receiving at a single altar.  

I think we are all aware that these changes do not work well for the 9 am service and have highlighted issues around the space needed to prayerfully receive communion.

The plan is, however, just a plan and I am confident that together we can come up with a revised plan which can preserve the integrity of the sanctuary whilst allowing for consecration and distribution of Holy Communion to take place around a single altar.

Our shared love of the church and commitment to its future meant that at some points in the evening emotions ran high; as they have so many times in so many churches over the last two thousand years.  

God places great faith in us: we are not called to just survive as a church but to thrive and to be salt and light for the whole community.  I am sure that as we continue to listen to one another, work together and bear with each other in love we will understand and experience more and more what it means to be the body of Christ in the world; and that both we, our wider church family and our community will flourish in the process.  

The next steps start with the standing committee which, mindful of the points made at the open meeting, will meet to discuss a revised plan for the sanctuary.  If you would like to be involved in these discussions please do email Sarah and Ollie at wardens@holyspirit-clapham.org.uk

When this stage is completed a team will draw up a specification to be submitted to the PCC for their approval.  The PCC’s approval will enable us to start a process which will include selecting designers and creating a funding plan. 

As each of these steps is reached, information will be made available on the website and at the back of the church. 

In faith, hope and love

Mother Ruth