As I write this, Mark and I have just returned from a weekend visit to Bath, a much appreciated gift from all the lovely folks at Emmanuel. This was our first visit to the City. The sun shone and we enjoyed a tour of the fascinating Roman Baths, a mini cruise on the river and some delicious meals accompanied by excellent live Jazz Trios.
On the Sunday Morning we attended a service of Holy Communion at Bath Abbey. Taking a weekend away from the challenges of the refurbishment of our Worship space, we found ourselves looking upon a project on an even bigger scale than ours! Parts of the beautifulAbbey’s floor are collapsing and the floor is sinking where bodies buried beneath it have decomposed, resulting in huge gaps being created, making the floor unstable. That’s one problem we didn’t have! Whilst the Abbey floor is being repaired, all 891-ledger stones that make up the floor have to be lifted, documented and repaired. As with Emmanuel, a new underfloor heating system is being installed, but unlike us, there are plans to tap into (excuse the pun) the city’s underground hot springs. Fascinating!
As Mark and I spoke to Abbey staff, we reflected upon the stresses of raising funds and changing the inner fabric of what are two very special buildings, loved by many. They too have had to deal with the sensitivity of removing pews and other fixtures. But it was a joy to share our passion for preserving the heritage of our buildings, whilst making them fit for purpose to welcome present and future generations. And we also spotted six other very special inhabitants of the Abbey. High up in one of the Abbey’s majestic towers, two Peregrine Falcons have nested and hatched four chicks. We witnessed the soaring of the parents as they gathered food, and through an internal camera, we were able to watch the chicks being fed. Despite the building activity below, within the towers of the Abbey the birds have found warmth, shelter and security and it was just a stunning reminder of new life and the wonder of creation. As we continue to settle into our new worship space, may it continue to be a place where people find warmth, shelter and security and we may we continue to spread the message of new life to be found through Jesus Christ, our Lord.