Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Out with the Old

So, we're into that strange lull between Christmas and New Year. It seems longer this year, so not only do I have time to make this post, but I spent all day yesterday beginning the mammoth task of clearing out our cellar so Deborah can set up her studio down there. We have a few mementos from Mersey Street stored down there, together with various bits and bobs of Clare and Andy's while their never-ending building work goes on. But by far the majority of the rubbish down there is stuff I have hung on to on the grounds that, "It may come in useful sometime."

You may not know this, but we have pretty much re-built our house over the last 15 years. But we are about to purchase a stair carpet - and that will be the moment we declare it finished! (Of course, it never will be finished, there will always be repairs and improvements... we need a new boiler and the shower room needs re-decorating, but you know what I mean).

So, if the bricks, slates & timber I've been hoarding, not to mention half-full tins of paint have not 'come in handy,' by now, then it is likely they never will.

So, it's out with the old.

Which is a good summary of 2009, really. We finally rid ourselves of Mersey Street, and the last vestiges of traditional church. Now we begin the task of constructing a new model of Christian presence which fits the new Openshaw.

And after a couple of days rest after a good Christmas with family and friends, that feels a pretty exciting prospect. So, a very Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Demolition Keep Out

This afternoon I finally found time to go out with the church camera and take some photographs of the estate. You can view them by clicking the title of this post.

It was a strange and rather melancholic experience. We have been waiting for so long for this process to start, but somehow I can't find much to celebrate.

This advent we have been following the Roots material (well, sort of, anyway) which began by looking at the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. We spent time looking at walls and barriers which divide the world today and Clare put together a slideshow.

Ironic then, to go out into my own community, where I have lived for 16 years now, to take photographs of the homes of friends and neighbours, to capture images of the church in which I have ministered for 18 years and to be greeted by fences, barriers and signs telling me to KEEP OUT.

I wanted to scream at the yellow jacket hard hats, "But I live here. This is where I belong. You can't keep me out of my own home."

But, of course, they can. In many ways, they should. Health and safety isn't all daft! But it did worry me to walk onto the new build roads for the first time and to discover that they are all full of gates and barriers as well. Gated communities built to protect the inhabitants from the indigenous community. Built to protect them from me.

Why are you all frightened of me?