Tuesday, 5th May – Further Progress
Things are moving apace with the builders in each day beavering away at Saint Anselm’s on our exciting project to transform dual use hall into church and parish room. Here you see the shell of the narthex being constructed. A new entrance for the building was knocked through yesterday and the lobby will be finished this week. It will contain a large glazed section so that all hall users see into the church as they pass- a little act of evangelisation and welcome.
The next two days see the external statue fixed on its special plinth and on Wednesday the frame for the new parish room arrives on site and will be put into place by Friday. We are just a month or so away from completion and it was wonderful seeing how upbeat everyone was feeling on Sunday. There is a real sense of energy and joy around the church as plans come to fruition.
It was helpful then that Father Nicholas used Sunday’s Gospel passage about vine and branches to remind us that this is the beginning not the end of our mission. Our building is going to be lovely but it is leaf not fruit. It is not ultimately what we are about. And in truth the building work is pointless unless it helps produce fruit for Christ – the salvation of souls – in the spiritual life of this parish and all who worship here. What we have then is an opportunity not an end product – a springboard for effective mission. Will we use it to the glory of God?
Wednesday 6th May – The Arrival of the Hall
This morning I arrived at church early to meet a special delivery. Our new parish room packed onto the back of a lorry and ready to be craned on site. Despite a heavy shower everything went smoothly which is the norm for our excellent team of builders who have seriously impressed me this week.
If you, or anybody you know, is planning to build an extension or community room then consider using Sid Solutions based in Sussex. They have been friendly and reliable thus far – may it continue. Not only that but one of the builders was, until recently, a seminarian in Brentwood diocese! A girl put an end to that but, as I remarked to him, we need strong Catholic families today just as much as clergy and there is still plenty for him to do in service of the church.
It was good to see the base and housing of the external crucifix is now in place. The corpus is being lifted onto it this afternoon and secured with special screws. It can be viewed from the pavement and will welcome people onto site. It really does look handsome now that it is freestanding and offset by the trees.
This afternoon an old ramp will be removed and the ground work will be completed. This allows for construction of the hall to begin and it is hoped the walls and flooring will be in place by the weekend. It really is exciting watching this project unfold. Not long and for the first time since the reformation there will be a permanent church in Pembury for Catholics where people can drop in for prayer and devotion. Praise God for that!
(from Fr. Ed Tomlinson’s blog)