WRENovation Event Sunday 12th February
We woke on the Sunday we had chosen to celebrate completing renovating our Meeting House to menacing grey skies, cold and drizzle….. The large car-boot sale next to St Mary’s Church had been cancelled because of the poor weather – so how were we to get lots of visitors to our Open Garden afternoon with tea & cake for the celebrations? But the snow-drops, primroses and hellibores were doing their best, and the huge array of different home-made cakes looked & smelt most enticing.
A few of us stayed after Meeting for Worship to put out tables & chairs in the Meeting Room; to put up photographs of the kitchen as it had been, and the stages through its transformation; to put together a display of photos taken during the internal insulation, the double-glazing and the cavity-wall insulation, and lots of information about climate change and why we had done all of this – and generally to make the Meeting House feel welcoming and cosy and the place to be on a cold February afternoon.
Not having velco attachment strips, we instigated a production line of folded sellotape stickers, in the middle of which an Evening Telegraph photographer arrived to take photos of the event, which was still nowhere near begun. Not daunted, we held up pictures and pretended to pour tea in a most creative way, and he then disappeared again. However by this time, it became clear that the sellotape stickers were totally inadequate, as photo after photo fell to the ground ! But then our fortunes changed – Mick appeared with a strip of Velcro and the first guests started arriving, as did more Quaker helpers.
And from that point on, the front door with its characteristic chime, was opening & shutting time and time again. Different conversations started up, initially about the Meeting House, or the weather – but rapidly widened to cover all sorts of things as people spotted friends & acquaintances, or made contact with others they’d never met. Looking across the Meeting Room the tables were full of groups, some large, others small, deep in conversation while consuming cake & drinking tea. Lots of enquiries about how we raised the money, had it been hard to persuade the congregation?, who had done the work - two churches in particular were keen to do something similar. Among the many visitors were other users of the building, neighbours living nearby, representatives of Churches Together and the Eco-faith group, environmentalists, family & friend of Quakers and our employees, as well as many Quakers themselves.
Meanwhile in the garden room, guests were looking at other displays, deciding whether they should have lemon drizzle or fruit cake, or maybe brownies – or perhaps one of each! And hosts, including our children, were busy pouring a range of teas & coffee, collecting empties and refilling the new dishwasher yet again for its 3-minute cycle. The new water heater really proved its worth.
This was nominally an Open-Garden afternoon, and the snowdrops were admired through our new clear double-glazing, a mass of white under the trees at the bottom of the garden and in many of the flower-beds too. Some intrepid visitors also ventured outside with coats well done up to get a closer look – when the rain periodically abated.
Apart from the success of this celebration, and the new wonderful state of our building, we feel that the whole project has brought us together as a Meeting. Several of us remarked how well we had worked together during the sometimes prolonged periods of activity. When carpet-tiles or chairs or kitchen contents needed moving, we always had volunteers a-plenty. And we look forward to the next stage of life of Peterborough Quaker Meeting from strong foundations.
Dorothy Ball Feb 2017
WHERE WE MEET
Peterborough Quaker Meeting House
21 Thorpe Road
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MEETING FOR WORSHIP:
Sunday 10.30–11.30 am
Wednesday 7–7.45 pm
Children’s meeting is held
on the second Sunday of
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