After the thrill of opening for trading I had the notion that I would enjoy a period of some basking in the tide of praise we were receiving from visitors for the transformation of St Mary de Crypt and Schoolrooms into Discover deCrypt. But, another point of view stopped me in my tracks. Coming from someone apparently familiar with heritage and its care caused me to take stock-again.
Although approving of the physical changes to the church and schoolrooms, there came forth a firm but unquantified view that the church had somehow “lost its soul”. Unquantified or not, this point of view made me wonder whether, in our attention to pre-1900’s history and characters, we had done full justice to what was the essence of St Mary de Crypt in its wonderful track record of innovation, inclusiveness, openness, of ‘casting bread upon waters’.
Many instances of this come to mind; for example,
- providing a bolt-hole for the LGBT community when bodies were reluctant to do so
- being the first church community to embrace the Movement For The Ordination Of Women
- involving children in significant contribution to worship, including intercessions
- being a place where people across the worshipping spectrum were welcome and enabled
- encouraging ground-breaking theatre and events
- providing a platform for people of vision
Forced to recall these things that I had almost taken for granted, it becomes very clear to me that, almost organically, the values and attitudes that must have inspired those historic characters are now a feature of the place, woven firmly into the way Discover deCrypt has been shaped and is now working.
The ‘soul’ of St Mary de Crypt ‘goes marching on’.
– Peter, Churchwarden of St. Mary de Crypt