Throughout my years of Reader ministry and my administrative work for the Church of England, my passion was that the Church was there for people who were not members.Those who thought of themselves as 'members' were part of the Church with a job to do of simply being there for others. For me the job was not winning people to the faith; faith is vastly more complex and elusive. It has been described as a gift; one which for me has proved elusive. Yet I know people to whom it had been given and fully respect that.
Two recent articles offer food for thought.
Simon Jenkins, quite rightly, loves church buildings, and we have many wonderful examples. His anxiety is that dwindling congregations simply cannot carry the burden they present. Alternative uses are needed.
Rowan Williams takes a different tack and explores the needs we humans have for connections. He sees science as a place for conversation to understand our place in the world. Art opens door to experiences which are not our own, uncovering connections where we have not expected them. Religion is about the 'other' who claims our attention, our contemplation and our active generosity. The 'other' may be found in every human being as vehicles for God's presence.
Williams doesn't bang the drum for christianity, as might be expected from a former Archbishop of Canterbury. Instead he stands as a friend to those of us who seek understanding of our lives.
So, back to The Repair Shop and those looking down from above. Who can say yea or nay to that? What is abundantly true is that memories of those whom we love are precious and sometimes painful A few benefit from the repair of loved possessions. Perhaps others can benefit from the space a church building can offer. For some it may be a half-remembered faith, for many it may be a question that can never be fully answered.