Mass migration avoided

Author: The Revd Adrian Ling

Published on: 29 December 2017

Like many medieval churches, All Saints’ King’s Lynn was a cold church.

In 2013, the central heating system was condemned, and for three years the congregation mounted an annual exodus to the much warmer Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation for our Sunday Masses. Various grants were applied for, but sadly one major funder repeatedly turned us down because we could not ‘prove our community worth.’ The three charities that did help us were Anglo-Catholic societies that accepted our argument that without heating, we were severely restricted in our mission and outreach. Why would any enquirer from the surrounding housing estate want to leave their warm flat to come to a freezing cold church?

There was, however, a substantial deficit still to fill. We decided to ask the congregation to pay for individual heaters, and we said that we would monitor progress with a chart in the church. The first chart had pictures of pews which would have little pictures of heaters put beneath them as money was received. It was such a dull chart. So in an effort to grab the people’s imagination we put pictures of cold penguins
on every pew on the chart. As sufficient money was received, the cold penguin was replaced by a bird from tropical climes, a happy toucan. It might sound rather twee, but the conversion of penguins to toucans at the end of mass helped sustain interest and momentum in the fund-raising, and heaters were installed under every pew ready for last winter. And this year there was no need for us to fly off on our annual migration.

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