Friday, 19 June 2015

St Simon's - More History

Following the article about the history of St Simon's Church - read here:

came this letter from the pages of "The Pilot", in 1981 which corrects some of the history and also reflects the concerns that the church would be closed.

Letter to the Pilot.
Dear Sir,


It was with much satisfaction and profound interest to read the historical narrative of St Simon's Church. On at least three points it is inaccurate.

The foundations of the north aisle were never laid as an old house stood in the way, and was demolished a few years ago. The south aisle Chapel of the Incarnation was Installed long before G.R.'s article. The ancient mediaeval piscine did not come from St Helier's Parish Church, and it is not a piscine, but a benitier. St Jude was not included in the Title as there was already a chapel of that name in Union Street and a cause of great bitterness between themselves and Dean Filleul, it was eventually closed.

When St Simon's was created a "Particular District" the church building was also to be known as the Parish Church of St Simon, at all times.

But now, in 1981, although like every other church we have a eclectic congregation, after much discussion with the Bishop, an assistant priest is to be appointed with special responsibility for St Simon's. We, for our part, have given certain assurances to the Bishop. We are indeed fortunate and grateful to the many people who come to the High Masses, the purpose of which is to provide an opportunity for Christians to come together to worship God.

For what other purpose are Churches built, or indeed why has God created Man if it is not for worship? Supposing a block of flats was built where the church stands, would it create a worshipping community? Of course not.

In addition to paying our way, all the money given at collections is given to Missions. Is there any other church in Jersey which does this? Supposing a lot of money is raised and spent on restoring the building, keeping it in good order, what has that got to do with anybody? Our Lord has to reprimand his followers when they tried to prevent a woman from washing his feet with costly ointments. They thought it a great waste. 

Yet other churches can spend fortunes on stained glass windows, new organs, etc. including specially constructed burglar-proof cabinets to hold hoards of gold and silver trinkets which are never used or unusable; and no one bats an eyelid. We cannot be accused of squandering the church's money for the simple reason that we get not a penny from any official source.

Those of us, and there were many from several churches, who attended St Paul's Church for the Induction of their new Incumbent heard the Very Rev the Dean say that "there were two churches in Jersey, one very low, much lower than he himself would wish to be, the other very high, much higher than he himself wished to be, and both are necessary for the life of the Church in this Island, and must be kept".

It stands to reason that if anyone is so desirous of closing down churches, then they better look elsewhere at those churches whose services are conducted more or less uniformly and see whether they cannot be pruned. Currently we are looking at possible courses of action to ensure that Anglicans are not to be deprived of a centre of worship to which they feel drawn. 

It could mean rebuilding St Simon's on the same site with flats as well, but until our investigations are complete we remain in use as we are. It could become a centre for ecumenical work which already takes place with other Christians. It could become a centre for a Religious Community, and surely, there could be no better place. We have no intention whatever of preserving it merely as a museum of Victorian architecture.

Churchwarden, St Simon's -John S. Hitchcock

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