Aspects Of Love
It is curious how events, even if they appear of small significance at the time, can often make the difference between success and failure. In the early 1990’s it was my perception that St Mary de Crypt had an uphill struggle to survive as a church or, indeed, as any place contributing to the city scene; the population of the city centre had dwindled to a level that meant the church could only expect support from those living in the suburbs. So, I began expressing the need to plan for an alternative life before simple financial facts of life led to a slow painful death.
The problems then were exacerbated by being unable to leave the church unattended at any time, so it could no longer remain open to passing visitors as had been the case. We saw an open church as an essential part of what we did in the city, but had insufficient resources to see it through.
Then, in 1994, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber launched his Open Churches Trust, giving grants to churches to enable them to stay open. In his words:
‘Britain’s churches are one of the country’s unsung assets…..I founded this Trust to help keep these treasures open.’
The grant we received for several years enabled us to pay the costs incurred by volunteers, but its value to us was much more because it came at the right time and enabled us to bridge a period of reduced resources until we began to get increased support from Gloucester’s Civic Trust and their volunteers. Very fitting as the Civic Trust had a Rector of SMdC as its founding Chair!
That support was consolidated when Eve Stuart-Kelso and husband Derryck adopted the church as their focus of care, and became members of the congregation. The effect of their involvement was massive, with new drive and aims that helped us take further steps into the early moves towards what is now Discover deCrypt.
Churchwarden at St Mary de Crypt