Thursday, 23 April 2009

Hidden beauty

Why do I want to keep one old feature and yet remove another?
The aisles of Saint Nicholas' have been uncovered! Why were they hidden? The carpet has been taken up so that it doesn't become marked during the building work but underneath are the most beautiful tiles. I hope that we can use this original feature and not replace the "cosy" red carpet. Time will tell.

The pipes from the old central heating system are to be moved under the floor and, instead of six big radiators, every seat in the nave will have a heating pipe underneath! The church hasn't been a cold building so it could well become a very warm one! Of course, each of us has our own idea of what is a good temperature so no doubt, it will be acceptable to some and not to others!

The old boiler is about to be removed. It is a great age and of immense size and yet a thing of industrial genius and beauty. Another photograph needs to be taken with an indication of just how big is the machine. It has served us well and provides a tremendous amount of heat week by week but sooner or later it will reach the end of its useful life. And it is also true that a more modern machine would work with greater efficiency.
So why do I want to recover the tiles and dispose of the boiler?
"Fit for purpose" might be the most useful criteria.
The tiles are probably the best flooring that we could have. The acoustics of the building will be enhanced by the hard surface and the tiles themselves are objects of beauty and original to the building. They are in good order (apart from the wee holes that were drilled to lay the carpet rods!). On the other hand, the boiler has a limited life-span and is coming towards the end of that. It wasn't original to the building and is simply a machine to provide heat and better machines are now available.
So, "because we always done it" or "it has always been that way" isn't enough. In any process of change each element has to be examined on its own merit. To maintain something, simply because it has "always been thus" is not enough. As we prepare for a new phase in the life of Saint Nicholas' we need to be alert to keeping what is good and appropriate and to change what is no longer the best. May God help us to know the difference.

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