When I’m thanked for allowing a group from the parish to use ‘my’ church I always point out that it has really been their church all along. I probably do so in the pious tone of voice I find so unpleasant in other clergy. Funders who like evidenced use rather than pious generalisation made me quantify this, and, as work began this week on disabled access at St Michael’s, Little Coates, I’ve been looking at how these figures still stack up.
About 40 people turn up at St Michael’s each Sunday morning at the moment; perhaps as many as 100 different people have worshipped at our Sunday and Wednesday morning services in the six weeks since the beginning of September, and another 30 came to our alternative worship event called The Last Saturday Thing. But I’ve done a rough count and calculate that about 1250 different people have been through the door in that time.
They came from two different schools who asked to use the building in different ways. They came for the weekly WalkWell health promotion sessions, a weekly art class and a monthly Ladies Circle. They came for the national Heritage Open Day or for our weekly Saturday Open Church. They came for fourteen different services of Baptism, Marriage, Funeral and the Burial of Cremated Remains.
So it is clear that the message we try to give to suspicious funders is true: the effort a few regular church goers put into keeping the building open is indeed for the benefit of other people.