Our minister is Reverend Deborah Kirk.
Deborah's contact details are:
Office Tel.: (01823) 275765,
Home Tel.: (01823) 334854
I wonder if you have ever watched the programme ‘The Repair Shop’? It’s a favourite in our house. There is a little workshop called ‘The Weald and Downland Living Museum’ in West Sussex, where the programme is filmed.
The people who work there are skilled in their particular craft: carpentry, metalwork, making soft toys and dolls, painting, horology, and a multitude of other skill-sets which can only be imagined.
Members of the public bring their damaged heirlooms or battered-but-beloved treasures to The Repair Shop to be fixed. And the craftsmen and women work their magic. Sometimes there are three or four different people involved in the restoration, each delighted to offer their own particular skill to bring a wonderful collaborative transformation to the precious item.
The care the team invest in each item has nothing to do with how much the items are worth financially, but about how much they are worth to their owners, and the preciousness of the memories attached to them.
The Repair Shop team will sometimes restore the item to its original pristine condition – brasswork gleaming, woodwork unblemished, paintwork shining, as fine and flawless as the day it came off the original craftworker’s bench.
But sometimes the item is restored in such a way that it carries visual evidence of some of its history, little indications of its earlier use, and even of its previous damage, into its newly restored life.
I always find it interesting when the craftsman or woman working on a piece decides to do this. The perfectionist in me might have been inclined to have gone further – had I been the restorer. But I would be mistaken. For the owner is almost universally appreciative that these marks of history have been left. Because the marks bring back memories – perhaps of youthful enthusiasm and delight, or perhaps the poignancy of a loved one departed. The marks and flaws are part of the history of the piece, part of its story with the owners who have valued it, part of its authenticity, what it intrinsically represents.
Restoration is holy work. It’s also slow work, requiring patience, persistence and imagination. Jesus was all about making the broken whole, lifting those precious ones discarded by society, naming their unique value, making beauty from the most unlikely things, reimagining a more whole way of being in the world. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God’s ‘workmanship’. Can we imagine God leaning over his workbench carefully repairing a broken part of our lives here, carefully polishing a tarnished attitude there, sitting back from his work to take an overall view, before leaning in with a smile to add that special touch that makes his treasured possession unique.
OK, maybe that’s a bit sentimental – I let my imagination go for a minute!
But I think that imagining is what we are being called to do just now as people of Christ’s Church; about how we can renew those things which are precious to us and part of who we are – our worshipping life, and how we express it; how we can connect with our communities in a new context; our service towards those in need; our welcome for any and everyone.
Can we imagine how to refashion and repair these treasures that we value so much, so that they can do their job for another context and another generation.