It was 21 May when I went into St Mary’s Beeston to lead a service for the first time in 9 weeks.
It was strange – the church was a bit dusty but not looking too bad. I was there to do a Facebook live Communion service, assisted by Andrew, my husband and also a vicar. No one else was allowed to be with us in church – and that felt really strange.
I’d expected that – but what I hadn’t expected was just how special it felt to be back in St Mary’s. I’d always thought it was the people who made it special, and they do, but there is also something special about the building.
There’s been a church on this site for centuries: Beeston is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086, and there was a chapel of some sort, but the church in its present form dates from 1885.
When I came here as vicar, 7 years ago, I thought it was a lovely church, well cared for and loved, and located in the centre of Beeston. I quickly discovered that lots of people valued the building – not just those who came but many more in our community.
St. Mary’s is a Parish Church and that means it is there for everyone who lives in Beeston, and you have a right to be married here and an expectation that you can have christenings and funerals here too. One of the things we’ve been exploring as a church is how to make the building more accessible for people in our parish.
I know that when the church doors are open people pop in – maybe to see what it’s like, or to light a candle, or to have a sit down, or to experience the peacefulness of the building. They may do that as people of faith or not. And all are welcome.
So I’m really glad that the Government is allowing churches to open again, initially for private prayer, and then for simple services. We’ve been busy getting St Mary’s ready for you to come in. We’ve dusted, mopped, vacuumed, washed and polished until it’s gleaming!
And from 1 July St Mary’s Church Beeston will be open from 2-4pm on Wednesdays and 10.30am-12.30pm on Sundays.
Church members will be on hand to keep everyone safe. We’ve got hand sanitiser for you to use and a one way system. You’ll be able to light a candle, sit in a pew, say a prayer, and write a card for our Memorial Book: an album with names and messages about people who’ve died during this pandemic.
Andrew and I will be continuing to do our Facebook live services on Sundays at 9.30am on the St. Mary’s page: St Mary’s Church and Beeston Parish Centre
I do hope you’ll drop in, and I hope you’ll discover how special the Church is too.
St Mary’s Church is on Town Street, Beeston, LS11 8PN – opposite the Co-op.
This post was written by Rev Lindsey Pearson
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