Salisbury Cathedral Fontphoto/rachaeleliz

GREAT MEETING with our church architect this morning. The need for church maintenance and development appears to be never ending. Ours is a large complex (though not quite a Salisbury Cathedral – above). And the need can become either a long-term irritant or a long-term blessing. Our buildings can be thought of as long-term liabilities or long-term grace and witness. I’m among the first to admit that the Church fails in her responsibilities when blindly holding on to elements of the past that are patently redundant, and massive drains upon financial and other reserves. But others of our church buildings are literally sanctuary for souls, and their proper maintenance and an ongoing creativity within them is, I think, a spiritual responsibility.

Salisbury Cathedral, begun by St Osmund in the 1200s didn’t need a new twentieth century baptismal font, a fabulous work of art in itself, but what a glorious witness to “living water” it now is, and how extraordinarily the great space, and others like it, moves thousands to re-member, to think upon ancient telling of the glory of God. That’s how I think about the joint tasks of maintenance and creativity in Bramhall – actually the maintenance does need the creativity – so that living water keeps flowing. There’s a cost involved, of course, not least in terms of the need for “expensive and expansive” imagination. But he who gave us living bread and living water was prepared to pay the cost of the provision with his life. And he asked us to remember.