This month we celebrate the end of an era: the years of recent work to restore and improve facilities at St Mary’s church for the 21stcentury. We are deeply grateful to all those who have worked hard, fund-raised and used their time and talents to make it all possible. We are not sad to see the scaffolding go, but it was vital for many months of roof repairs and external work. Our colourful stained glass windows are back in place – clean, bright and beautiful – after months of painstaking work by Kent craftsmen. We are benefiting from other major improvements like our organ, our new kitchen, level stone floor, WCs, storage, Upper Room, as well as upgrades to the sound system.
I love our St Mary’s Frittenden logo (illustrated), as it reminds us why our church building is really here. Its tall, elegant spire at the west end points heavenwards, encouraging us to LOOK UP. Our busy lives can be perplexing, full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows. Human life is like that. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed or oppressed. Looking up can give us a new perspective, especially on a clear, dark, night full of stars and a silvery moon. Psalm 8 ponders this thought: in a vast universe, who or what are we humans, that God should care about us? And yet He does! He really does.
At the opposite (East) end of the church is our small, intimate chancel, with its altar and tall window reminding us Christ sacrificed his life on the cross for us but was then raised from the dead, victorious, 3 days later. So here we LOOK EAST, not to a philosophy or a myth, but to a person still alive today. He lived and died in a real place – the Holy Land. Those events actually happened, at a time when the mighty Romans ruled there, just as they also did in Kent.
The middle section is known as the nave (its wooden roof is built and shaped like an upside-down wooden ship). We are not just lone pilgrims, but ordinary people on a journey together. Here we LOOK AROUND us. We aim to grow in our faith and to live active lives of faith, sharing it and serving God as caring and compassionate people, loving our neighbours as ourselves. Who is my neighbour? Everyone! Not just people in Frittenden but it starts here. We are called to share God’s love in word and deed locally, in other parts of the UK, and indeed all over the world, amongst and with people of all races. It’s said that the Church exists for the benefit of those who are not yet members.
Rev Fred Olney