Reordering of St John’s

Following the approval of the Diosecan Court to the reordering of St Johns in December 2011, orders for the new chairs and carpet were finally placed with the suppliers in January 2012. The delivery time was estimated at approx 6n weeks and accordingly the week commencing 12 March was suggested as changeover week. The first service post change would thus be Mothering Sunday on 19 March.

In the intervening period a number of persons expressed their interest in acquiring the church furniture with the proviso that it was cash on collection and buyer collects. With a couple of weeks to go there were some last minute changes to the buyers list, and then came the bad news of a delay in the chairs. This was due to a faulty in the material, only discovered on supply to the chair manufacturer. The delay would be two weeks, i.e. the week before Holy Week. A decision had to be made, defer clearing the church and installing the new carpet or stick with the original timetable and use folding chairs from the hall. With eight purchasers of furniture all prepared to collect between 10-12 March and the carpet fitters booked in for Tuesday 13 March there was only one choice.

And so on Saturday 10 March the Ll shaped pew around the font was split back to its principal components and went off to be reassembled in its new home. There was a slight panic on Sunday 11th as one purchaser of a pew had not made contact, but early that afternoon they did appear and went away with their acquisition. That Sunday also saw another couple of pews and one of the three seater choir stalls go to their new home in the back of a white van. And those three seater settees were very heavy, made the pews seem light.

Monday 12th saw the final clearance, and interesting of transport to remove the final items. Half a dozen pews were fitted into the back of a horse box, (hopefully cleaned before hand) whilst a large military truck arrived from the Ministry of Defence base at St Athan to take some items for use by the base chaplaincy. The military personnel did not seem to have the issues in moving their three seater choir stall as did the removal persons on the Sunday. Whilst the furniture was disappearing a team of parishioners began the task of clearing the vestry of its contents and moving the service books, kneelers and the furniture being retained into the chancel to provide a clear space for the carpet fitters. Parts of the church previously inaccessible were subject to a once in a lifetime clean. A number of church cloths and similar items that had not seen the light of day for a number of years gave pleasure to those who saw them for the first time.

In theory the carpet fitters were due to arrive at 8am on Tuesday and take one day to fit it all. In practice the sole fitter eventually arrived at 12.30 on Tuesday, fitting the appropriately named “Seventh Heaven” underlay (seriously, I do have the photographs) that day. The carpet itself was then fitted on Wednesday. The detail of various communications establishing the arrival time of the fitter is not for the pages of a parish magazine!

Thursday afternoon saw another team of willing parishioners reconvene at the church to prepare it for services. In a fine display of many hands make light work, about an hour later, the church and vestry was prepared for use.

It has to be said that the turn out on both Monday and Thursday to undertake to the clearance, cleaning and resetting was wonderful and there was a good team spirit.

Just one question remained, when would the chairs arrive, before Palm Sunday or Holy Week? Again the detail of a number of phone calls is omitted from this report. Eventually it was established that it would be Tuesday in Holy Week at 11am, or 9am accordingly to the delivery driver’s paperwork, or 1.30 in the afternoon which was the final actual arrival time. Twenty six boxes with two chairs in each, taken into church, unboxed, laid out, complete with kneelers and books, and twenty six cardboard boxes in the back of three cars ready for the skip at Waungron Recycling Depot all by 4pm. Partnership teamwork at its best.

I repeat my thanks to each and every parishioner who contributed to the reordering and especially to Malcolm May who contributed so much time and effort to the project and was great company during various periods of waiting.

Mike Gill

Parish St J Reordering