I’m delighted to say that I am writing this blog from the parish office in the new extension of St Michael’s. I’m planning to do a lot more of my administration from this place in order – with others – to help keep the church open during the day.
The extension is called the Threshold Project because we recognise the importance of offering a welcome for people who cross the threshold into the church. The building is completed and ready for action. Bishop Steven will bless the space on Sunday and we want as many people to come to the 10am Eucharist as possible to witness this moment in history for St Michael’s.
The main gathering area in the Threshold Project is called the narthex. This is a Greek word describing an antechamber or a porch. As churches began to be constructed in the ancient world, the traditional design incorporated area for worshippers to flow through before entering the sacred space of the church. However, it also acted as a holding area for catechumens – recent converts to Christianity awaiting Baptism and/or Confirmation. Alongside the catechumens stood the penitents – those who had sinned and were fulfilling a time of penance, awaiting the church’s forgiveness and absolution. So, the Narthex was a waiting area as well as a gathering space, enabling the transition from everyday life to the celebration of the liturgy. And after the liturgy it again created the space of transition. We have a tradition at St Michael’s of blessing the people from the west doors, blessing their going out into the world. Sometimes I say as a way of dismissal, “the Eucharist has ended; our service begins!” So, we have this positive tension between being served and serving others, being fed and feeding others, being forgiven and forgiving others.
Please make a special effort to visit us this Sunday 22nd April for the Eucharist and stay for lunch (being prepared in the new kitchen). Make time to share in the confidence of the church in this place at this time and the statement which the Threshold Project makes to the local community: this is your gathering space, please use it well.
The Vicar & Churchwardens of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown
Warmly invite you to attend the blessing and official opening of
The Threshold Project
The Bishop of Oxford, the Right Reverend Steven Croft,
will preach and preside at the 10am Eucharist
A light lunch will be provided after the ceremonies
Sunday, 22nd April at 10am
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org / 07833 251939