Fresh Faith

FRESH FAITH

“It’s been a bit like slow cooking,”

The Reverend Evan Pederick said of the major renovation of St Michaels and All Angels, something that traces back to January 2012. The decision to subdivide, then sell to raise money to renovate took time. “To allow it to take time was the best thing, the 2014 subdivision and sales exceeded expectations, selling the units before the market tanked. The ‘why’ (we did it) was theological for me, the parish plant is not just a building, it equips people, it’s a way for the parish to grow.” The planning process for the renovation started in 2016. The Reverend Pederick says the level of engagement in the Parish of Canning was excellent, with parishioners coming up with ideas that were incorporated into the building. There’s an open plan kitchen, a garden and play space. The parish has about 65 worshippers on an average Sunday but The Reverend Pederick says what’s interesting is that it’s a parish that’s getting younger. “I chuckle when parishioners say they’re getting older, because as a group we’re not.” Evan says there’s a new energy in the parish. “A couple of years ago the average age was 51 and we have 18 children on the books for “Kidzone”.

The renovation brought the parish closer, when services were held in a hired six by 12 metre demountable building placed in the middle of the car park. “This has made us closer and all of a sudden we could hear each other sing! It brought us physically closer. That did everything, it was our kitchen it was our office it was our church.” The parish received a gift from the Parish of Maddington which is now mounted in the foyer. “The historic foundation stone from the original St Michael’s, 1883, Kenwick Cemetery. We went over with a trailer and three strong men plus me and moved the enormous block of limestone. It’s a nice connection with the past and connects us with our future. The renovation respects the late 1950s building. A feature in the worship space are eight steel girders inside brick walls which were never particularly attractive and have been encased in Blackbutt timber and look like the ribs of a boat.” To make the space flexible, the old heavy pews found new homes and were replaced with chairs and there’s a wall that can be pushed back near the Op Shop to open the space.

“The first time I walked into the new worship space with Luke, a student, we found ourselves whispering. It’s a warm space and it brought us into a prayerful state of mind. I believe the decades it’s used for prayer leaves its mark on a building.”

The Reverend Pederick said the renovation didn’t adversely affect the numbers in the congregation and in fact they had some new parishioners join during construction time.
The parish recently held Evensong to honour the 60th anniversary of the church and celebrate the re-opening and rededication following the refurbishment. The parish has commissioned a new bronze bell which will be inscribed with ‘In dedication to the greater glory of God and the 60th anniversary St Michael and All Angels.’ “Now that the refurbishment is done, we are sensitive to the fact that it’s overwhelming. Parishioners are filled with a sense of excitement for the future. I hope there’ll be new ways of interacting with the community in this new space,” The Reverend Pederick said.


Article published in November 2018 Messenger magazine