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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, August 16, 2002
    The church hides itself too much; keeps its doors closed. I realised this a couple of weeks ago when the normally-shut doors of Holy Trinity were open one afternoon and at different times and for different reasons, people wandered in off the street, resulting in meaningful conversations that wouldn't otherwise have happened. So this week we deliberately set about opening for a while each day, putting inviting signs outside, welcoming passers-by. The response wasn't great but we'll keep doing it, so that word will get round that we're open. Eventually the visibility-factor of the place should increase; we'll become known as a place of welcome rather than that dark building hiding itself behind the gravestones on the short-cut to the park.

    Visibility is easy on days like today. Wandering around the parish like a good traditional priest, stopping and chatting like it never seems possible to on dark winter days when the programme's so packed there's no time for God even in the C of E. Best bit for me so far today, a good half-hour outside my house with three local children who I'd never normally see to talk with. While I cleared the extensive weeds from the doorstep they set about removing the snails for me, a great help. Better still, maybe, to follow - a barbeque with colleagues this evening, usually a very enjoyable event. And I¹m in the mood for walking there, to St Clements¹ Toxteth, bottle in hand, smile in my eyes, visibly silly on a hot summer¹s night.