Sunday, 8 July 2012

Inappropriate gifts

Saint Mary - Heacham (Link)

© Godric Godricson
This is a picture that I took some weeks ago and I didn’t upload it at the time because it looked a little odd with a model of the Church in there looking like something that we leave on the mantle piece at home.

We have a long history in the UK of leaving precious items on the mantle piece (over the fire) with those precious items being left there as a sign and symbol. The Church at Heacham seem to have gone one step further and rather than a mantle piece they've turned the tomb into a mantle place and placed a piece of ‘tat’ there.

This is the equivalent of a child’s gift to their parent being placed in public view. The parent has no idea of what to do with this piece of ‘tat’. They know they are supposed to honour and revere the gift but what is the gift about?

In the same way that the child's gift is placed on the mantle piece the model of the Church is hidden on the monument. The model is  something that the Anglican Authorities didn’t know what to do with. This is a piece of ‘tat’ that was doubtless given with all sincerity and affection to the Church although without any thought of what the Church Authority would do with the gift. The result is that 'someone' placed it on this tomb like it was something to hide in plain sight. The tomb is diminished because the model is placed there and the gift is diminished because it is placed out of the way as if it were an embarrassment and. more than that, something to be embarrassed about. Oh dear, the Anglican Authorities have something to work on here. There are doubtless difficult conversations to have between the Authorities and the congregation. How do we restore the  balance?

I have played with this image because it something that I like to do although the model is still on the monument and the Authorities have still not made a decision. Perhaps its time to remember that monuments are ancient burial sites and Churches are indoor cemeteries rather than play groups or a community centre.

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