The Revd Wyn Beynon


I expect like me you been to many a harbour town and noticed the marina. Dozens, and often hundreds of masts lined up on jetty after jetty with boat after boat tied up flashing white in their serried ranks, to coin an overworked phrase. It's a glorious day to my un-sailoring eyes and I find myself wondering if and when any of them actually get taken out to sea. If you ever visit a light aviation airfield there will be hangars full of aeroplanes, many of which look like they hardly ever fly. I imagine weekend sailors coming down and checking out their boats adjusting this or that, or, if there big enough, having a few friends for cocktails. At the airfield people come and polish the nose and fire up the engine. But it's always too windy, or the visibility is no good or the cloud is too low or it's raining! Imagine turning up at Lymington or Southampton and seeing the marinas empty  because everyone's at sea. Imagine turning up at an airfield and finding all the hangars empty because everyone's flying. It may happen but hardly ever!
But go to a small tatty fishing village on some coast in Cornwall or Fife or  shingle beach in Suffolk. Sometimes the fishing boats are all in. But often there are just one or two boats  about, having some maintenance, or just too old to go far. Because they are all out at sea doing their job.
What if churches are like that?

Some churches are like harbours are full of beautiful masts, with loads of names registered with the local harbour master. Pass by any weekend and you see the masts from miles away.

Some churches are like tatty fishing harbours. Not much to see because they are all out fishing.

Or they're  like hangers full of expensive aeroplanes. The pilots talk about their new electronic gizmos and their Rae-ban sunglasses. But the aircraft has hardly flown all year.

So I'm going to make a guess. I guess that the pilots who fly the most have the least showy aeroplanes. The folk who sail the most have the cheapest boats. I remember seeing a chap at Keyhaven sailing an ancient canoe barely big enough for two. He'd rigged up a mast from something that looked like a broom handle and a sail from a white cotton sheet and a home made set of rigging and ropes. But he was out there having fun. Round the corner in Lymington many hundreds of yachts lay tied up in harbour. Glistening in the sun but going nowhere. But doubtless giving the club commodore reason for great pride!

What if the church is a bit like this?!?

Wyn Beynon (c) 2014