Thursday, November 20, 2008
Well, well, well
"Never" they said to me at vicar-school "never, EVER accept a job at a church with an open church-yard".
But when the time came, of course, I was so madly in love with the parishes that such wise advice was forgotten. Just. Like. That.
So since April I've been the slightly anxious custodian of not one but two well-used and fully functioning church-yards...which, as I've yet to be involved in any major dispute, still seem to be a price worth paying for the joys of ministry here. - particularly as they do, in themselves, provide such a valuable way of connecting with people who would otherwise have very few encounters with the church.
However, the words of my elders and betters echoed loudly one day last week as the playgroup leader and I stood looking down into a Very large hole in one of my churchyards. It had started so innocently - a small depression in the grass, a few feet away from the tarmacked path that goes round behind the church, and is well used by anyone who wants to turn a car and make good their escape. That was on a Thursday.
After a wet weekend, the small depression had become a small hole...nothing to worry about really. Maybe it had been there all the time and I had just failed to notice it. Really, I am shockingly unobervant....
But by Wednesday there was no denying it...a very substantial hole...and as we peered down into it, we could see a smallchamber, with brick walls...to whit, a vault - thankfully empty of any occupant.
Apparently at one stage there must have been a "buy one, get one free" option offered by the Victorian gravediggers...this was, according to our architect, provided as an overspill to a nearby family vault "just in case you ever need it".
Clearly it never was needed, but sat there - a great big hollow space, for over a century...until, one wet day in November 2008 the vibrations of traffic only feet away became just too much.
So there it is - our very own trap for heffalumps, which must be filled in (at a rather alarming cost, just to get rid of a hole) before anyone else starts making jokes about "the vicar looking into it".
I suspect that despite this denouement, I will still fail to listen to the next helping of wise advice. After all, how many empty vaults can there be in anyone's ministry?