A boat anchored in our community

Phiz’s illustration of Peggotty’s house in David Copperfield

” Yon’s our house, Master Davy !”

I looked in all directions, as far as I could stare over the wilderness, and away at the sea… but no house could I make out. There was a boat, not far off, high and dry on the ground, with an iron funnel sticking out of it for a chimney and smoking very cosily, but nothing else…

“That’s not it ?” said I, ” that ship-looking thing ?”

” That’s it, Master Davy,” returned Ham.

So Ham Peggotty introduces David to his home on Yarmouth beach in Charles Dickens David Copperfield. A cosy upturned boat, the Peggotty’s home, becomes for a while Davy’s home.

When a class of children from the school come into St Chrysostom’s Church I often say ‘Look up!’ and often they are surprised by the height of the church and also by the roof. ‘What is it like?’ and often a child replies ‘A Boat.’

The nave roof at St C’s

This is our spiritual home, a boat anchored here in our community. It has been anchored here for 142 years and it is our spiritual home, and a place of welcome for all. God dwells among us and our church, our ‘upturned boat’ is a sign, a sacramental sign, of home, God’s home, our home here.

This church has weathered many storms. There was a struggle to build it. Then it suffered a great fire. For a while support dwindled. It remains anchored here, a place of spirituality, wonder, welcome and prayer. Some come and stay for a long time here, some pass through, some work hard to keep things ‘ship shape’ and ordered, others go out renewed in faith and serve others.

Today we are joyful in our thanks to God for this church, and for ourselves too – part of this church. We encourage one another as companions, travellers together. ‘Make out’ this upturned boat to be your home. Delight to be here.

When Davy enters the house Mr Peggotty welcomes him: “Well, Sir, if you can make out here … we shall be proud of your company”

Look around, at one another “we are proud of your company…”

To us here, welcomed by God into this house of prayer, God too says ‘I am proud of your company.’

This is a summary of the sermon given by Fr Ian at High Mass on the Feast of Dedication of St Chrysostom’s, October 13th 2019.

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
This entry was posted in Anglican, St Chrysostoms Church. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.