September, a new School year, a new start for various Organisations, and, the return of lots of meetings!
This month we look forward to S.Mary’s Patronal Festival Weekend, and to our Churches’ involvement in the National Heritage Weekend, and Treasures Revealed.
During the 8 years that I have worked in Elland, I have lost count of the number of conversations I have had with people who visit one of our church buildings for the first time. Some have been Elland folk all their lives, who might say, ‘I always wondered what this church was like.’ Some have perhaps moved to the area recently, and are beginning to get to know what is going on. Some might have come along to a special service, a Baptism, or a Wedding, or a Funeral. Others may have come to an event or exhibition that we are hosting, or to one of our regular Sunday or Weekday services, or just popped in on the off chance when the building is open.
Whatever the reason, people often speak warmly of what they find, and I hope they always feel welcome. Some visitors will simply come along and admire the architecture. Others will want to know a little about how the building has evolved over the years, responding to different needs and opportunities. Some will look at the details of statues, or stained glass windows, the great hanging crosses, the screen, or the Stations of the Cross. Others will be fascinated by those little details that tell the story of the people of our communities, gravestones, memorial plaques and the like. Some will have a great sense of how all of human life is to be found there, with its joys and its sorrows – for churches are places of both mourning and celebration. Some may want information to guide them, and may join us at one of our regular acts of worship.
Many will be moved to light a candle, a sign of hope, of warmth and of prayer, and to perhaps write a few words, and place them on the prayer board. We pray for our guests and visitors regularly, and offer the requests for prayer that they leave. Whatever reason, we are welcome in the House of God, a place of peace for all.