Monday, 1 October 2012

A Dedication Festival

The Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale, Bishop Tony, Bishop of Pontefract and myself, pictured on Sunday 30th September, as we celebrated the Dedication Festival of St Mary's Church, marking the completion of 3 years and £300,000 worth of repair and renovation to the fabric of a building now the best part of 850 years old. The day marked a fitting re-dedication of priests and people, and an expression of hope and faith that this House of Prayer may continue to be a beacon for this community. No sense of job done quite yet though, as the rain water is coming through the north aisle again! Now the Forth Bridge is no longer being constantly painted, perhaps ' it's like repairing St Mary's' could become a replacement metaphor. A great day nonetheless, rounded off with Choral Evensong supported by folk from Churches Together; my grateful thanks to all who have worked for this day, and all who worked to make it special, may it live long in the memory.
We are also pleased to see Moses and Aaron back again from storage. Up until at least the early years of the 19th Century, these two paintings formed a part of the High Altar Reredos, so that Elland folk spoke of 'taking Vows before Moses and Aaron', meaning they were getting married. An early 19th Century Rector and his Wardens tried unsuccessfully to levy the fee for their renovation to the cost of the daughter chapels, who refused to pay, meaning the pictures languished in the Rectory for some years. They are not unique, similar ones survive for instance in Silkstone Church in South Yorkshire, and the style was perhaps quite common at one time.