The final stop on our church crawl was St Clement’s, Outwell – a name which will be familiar to regular readers of this blog as it is where the rare and unusual carvings of apostles and “gargoyles” were discovered by Dr Claire Daunton, a friend of mine and one of the guides on our tour.
There is still a huge amount of work to do to secure and renovate the roof in which the figures are set, which will need major outside funding (fairy godmothers may apply via me – seriously), but it was very heartening indeed to see the basic repairs, grant-aided by English Heritage but with much local funding too, nearing completion. Plans are now going in for a loo and basic kitchen facilities, which will support the cafe already started in the church by parishioners and events planned by the Friends and PCC.
St Clement’s is a classic case of major town-size church full of first-rate artefacts, which now finds itself in a quiet parish with a very small congregation, who have a very big heart but can never fund all the work a building like this needs. My prayer is for a vision that brings together the mission and faith of the church, the love of the wider village for its iconic building, and the energy and funds of an even wider body of those who care for our heritage, and lines up a win-win-win for this special place.