St Lawrence Church Bidborough

St Lawrence Church, Bidborough

Know God, Show His Love, Grow His Church

Southborough Team

800th Anniversary

Vicar's View - February / March 2019

Bidborough Church

As I write, we are already well into 2019. Some years life seems to progress on an ‘even keel’, to use a sailing metaphor, with no major changes in circumstances. Other years are times of change, heralded by news that may be good or bad. Sometimes it is a sadness or challenge that comes without warning - a redundancy, a bereavement, a diagnosis perhaps. Just yesterday I received an emailed letter from the Bishop of Rochester in which he shared with his colleagues across the diocese the news that a routine check-up had revealed something that requires an operation that will keep him out of public office for a number of weeks. We shall be holding James in our prayers along with others who face a challenging start to 2019.

Other years bring news that is full of excitement - a new job, a move, an engagement, a pregnancy - events that will blow a more welcome wind of change, but still ones that can ‘rock the boat’, and, as I know from sailing experience, herald a crashing-about of things below decks, as it were! 2018 was our big anniversary year as a parish at St Lawrence, that gave the name to ‘Project 800’ that will see big changes and improvements in the church building that we hope will see if equipped, if not for the next 800 years, at least for the needs of the community it serves for the decades ahead. 2018 also saw plans being laid for the formation of a new parish - ‘St Lawrence Bidborough and St Peter Southborough’, which will be part of the ‘ACTS Group’ (Anglican Churches Together in Southborough). But whilst 2018 was a year of celebration, and also planning for the future, 2019 will be the year when the big changes come - with the new parish, and Project 800, coming to fruition.

Sarah Smith, who is managing Project 800, gives an update elsewhere in this edition of Viewpoint. Here, I find myself reflecting on how the changes that 2019 will bring might feel for us as a church family and wider community. Our little medieval church is held dear in many of your hearts. What will this year of change mean? For one thing, it will mean us vacating the building for a while whilst the work takes place - and spending time worshipping in the school hall, or joining with our new parish-partners at St Peter’s. When we return our hope is we shall enjoy the very best of both the old and the new. Sitting in the tower (on original pews rather than 1980’s red chairs) the view down the nave and chancel will be as it always has been - or at least for the past 150 years. But walk over to the South Aisle and you will be in a clear space, floored in tiles and parquet, levelled for easy access and movement, with the organ pipe box removed to maximise the usefulness of the area. There will be new facilities for serving coffee and refreshments both after services, and at events that it will now be possible to hold during the week. Walk on out of the door and turn left, and you will be in the extension that will house a small ante-room, with the toilet beyond. Renewed heating, lighting and sound system will enhance the changes. Our hope and prayer is that 2019 will be an exciting year for us as a parish and as a church. I hope you are looking forward to these developments too. If you would like to know more, or have questions or comments on the upcoming changes, please do get in touch with me any time.

Stephen Hills

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The Day Centre would be happy to receive donations of second-hand clean clothes and shoes for their guests (particularly men’s clothing). If you can help please get in touch with Alan Richards on 528916.


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