We’d only been back from holiday a few hours when the Diocesan Registrar phoned asking if I could visit the new church at Beswick, and ‘certify the building to be fit and suitable for the celebration of Divine Service and Sacraments…’ The congregation wanted to worship in it on Sunday and the Bishop’s permission for them to do so relied on the Area Dean seeing all was well.
So Dominic and I visited on Saturday morning and Canon Roy Chow, the Vicar gave us our own tour of the building (we even went into the roof space). Roy has done splendid work in drawing this project to completion. Three congregations have come together and for eleven years have had this plan in mind. Roy told how the area has changed incredibly. In Victorian times the population was 80,000 and there were 8 parish churches. Now the population is 6,000 (expected to double in the next few years) and there is one church – the new church of the Resurrection and St Barnabas (a unique dedication, I suspect.)
The building will be a great asset. It has been carefully and thoughtfully planned, with much attention to detail, there is even air conditioning and quality hotel style toilets and shower room! Dominic was impressed that he, aged 5, could move the screen which could divide community space and worship space. The church will be a great asset to the community too – with a community cafe and meeting rooms. Roy and his people must rightly be proud of what they have achieved, and the prominent place their church will play in a developing urban parish. It stands next to the East Manchester Academy and a pub, and close to Gray Mare Lane market.
So when I got home I was pleased to confirm to Jane, the Diocesan Registrar that the building was, indeed, ‘fit and suitable.’