It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone expects their own village church to be open and available to them – and family and friends for important celebrations – regardless of their being regulars attenders or worshippers or supporters! It is just one of those things which we feel entitled to, and as, in our immediate area, they have existed for many hundreds of years it seems obvious that they must continue to do so! But the march of time takes it toll on these ancient buildings and new regulations round Health and Safety decree that costly works must be undertaken and that’s before the insurance premiums turn up with annual regularity. As we have seen with the recent major restoration of Temple Church, and several years ago a similar major project at St Mabyn When there is a Will, there’s a Way and these major works have been accomplished and the vein of deep affection and nostalgia is mined and donations are received from people who were last in the building for their baptism! We are all conscious of being rather unwilling to be a member of the generation which let it fall down / be closed because it is dangerous and so it continues to be a source of joy and pleasure (read the comments in the various Visitors’ Books) and place of peace and consolation. Yes, indeed, we are all agreed, but it isn’t just the major works which are the headache every couple of decades, it is the remorseless annual costs – such as trying to keep the building warm enough for those accustomed to central heating and padding around at home barefoot and in a T-shirt – and the Insurance! St Mabyn Church is one of the largest in the area and the annual premium is close to £3000 – and the average attendance on a Sunday around 30 people – and so on down the size scale, of both church building and numbers in the congregation.
Each church has a strategy to pay for this and in our area we are very blessed that they are all based on a community activity which in its turn gives great pleasure – St Mabyn and St Tudy have Fetes where a huge number of people (not all regular members of the congregation but much appreciated) are involved in what is always a most enjoyable event, St Breward recently hosted a Flower Festival, the success of which astonished even the organisers! and then little Helland held a Safari Supper which not only raised much needed funds, and brought neighbours together but also was a really jolly and enjoyable evening. There is much doom and gloom amongst our supposed metropolitan elite who bemoan the end of religious observance and even demand that is IS ended in some cases lest our religion offends someone else – but we can only assume that they are not privileged to live in the vicinity of a wonderful medieval building. It is often said that “somebody ought to do something” but usually that somebody is YOU and the something is Help Pay For It!