I am delighted that the new entrance gate has now been installed at the Amberley church. It is a superb beginning to the 150th anniversary of the opening of this beautiful and historic church.
I am reminded of the Temple Gate referred to in the scriptures – a place of encounter with Jesus known as “The Beautiful Gate.”
A couple of parishioners have made no secret of their opposition to what they see as an unnecessary extravagance. Of course they are right – such an entrance is both extravagant and unnecessary. But such excesses are the mark of love. It is not necessary that I give a friend a birthday gift. It is an extravagance. But when I do give the gift I am acting out of love not from pragmatism and need, and this is one of the ways in which I can model the unnecessary extravagance of God.
Of course not everyone will appreciate the divine characteristic of beauty. Too often our sense of beauty is numbed and even quashed completely by a secular and pragmatic mentality. But a healthy person cannot live without beauty. We need to both give and receive unnecessary extravagance and the human heart calls out for beauty and the spirit rests when embraced by beauty. The Catholic Church has always (at least in its healthiest moments) been the promoter of beauty in all the arts and this is evident in our own parish where we have five of the most beautiful churches in the country.
While many larger churches have an entrance narthex or gathering place, this new entrance will help people to make the transition into the sacred place that is the church from the profane space (ie pro-fanum = outside temple). The area between the new entrance and the church now becomes a more visible outdoor narthex, a gathering space for people before and after Mass.
As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, this visionary and ambitious project has been the result of a labour of love led by Geoff, with much of the labour and craftmanship by Corrigan, and with the support of many people who have contributed time, talent and treasure. As a result the finished product is a great gift to our parish.
below: the look of satisfaction of the craftsman as the entrance begins its journey from the studio to the church.
+ Concept design. Charles and Simon Thomas. Services donated free of charge
+ Decorative panels. Laser cut by Profile Plate Services.
+ Painting by Hendriks Sons and Daughter.
+ Roofing and foundation materials and installation of both donated by Stuart Laird Builders.
+ Glass panels supplied by The Glass Room.
+ Detailed design and fabrication. North Canterbury Engineering. Services donated free of charge.
+ Elliotts Nursery, Grays Road, Amberley for donation of all plants.