The re-opening of the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul in Rustington, after 12 months of refurbishment work has generated a lot of interest.
I’m sorry your correspondent and his grandson were disappointed (‘Spruce up our churches’, 18 Aug), but to judge from the comments of the majority of visitors, it has generally been very well received.
Judicious use of the new audio-visual system represents a marked improvement on what we had before.
Rather than looking ‘entirely out of place’, many have commented favourably both on the look of the Purbeck limestone floor as well as on the fact that it is level, making access so much easier for all than allowed by the raised timber pew platforms of 1861.
While it proved far from easy trying to resolve the question of appropriate seating, the chairs introduced met a number of criteria: eg most people find them sufficiently comfortable; they are easily moved, stacked and stored – a great advantage compared with the seating previously in place; and many would contend that they look really good in the space.
As Mr Lusty discovered, the same chairs are in use at Chichester Cathedral (where they were selected after a lengthy and thorough-going process). They are also to be found in quite a number of other cathedrals and churches.
Just as it takes time to settle into a new home, we are still in the process of becoming accustomed to our new surroundings.
As we do so, I hope that in time even those whose first impression may have been less than favourable will come to see how necessary it was that the refurbishment was undertaken; how hard many people have worked to bring it about; and what wonderful opportunities the re-ordered space offers, primarily – of course – for the worship and mission of the church, but also for concerts and other secular events.
When Mr Lusty’s grandson is next over from Canada, I am sure members of the church would be pleased to show him around the church.
We could then explain something of the vision that inspired the transformation of this much-loved sacred space, which we hope will bring glory and honour to God, give joy and satisfaction to His People and become a greatly valued resource to the benefit of the whole community.
The Rev Zachary Allen
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