Thursday, 1 July 1999

A Visit to St Thomas’ Church

By Mr Dawson’s Class, Lobwood School

When we got there and walked up the path, we saw four grave-stones, one was Amys uncle Freds grave.  The other grave stone was Adams brothers.  When we got to the doors the church lookt really huge.  We walked inside it was beautiful ive never seen such a thing. First thing you see is the font the font is where you put water in it to baptise people.  Mr Homes put some water in it and  … showed us how to baptise a baby.                             (D Hewitt)

… As you walk in you can see this thing that looks like a tree … called a font.  And as you walk futher on you can see an egal whats called a lectern.  I thought the pulpit was for St Thomas to go up to sing but it was’nt.  In the church I thout it was going to smell horrible but it smelt lovely.                                              (S Durnan)

… One of the thing’s that we saw was a pulpit it smelt like a very old piece of material.  It was very old and rusty and had lots of dust on it.  When we went out of the church, we saw a lot of old graves that looked like they had been there over 100 years.  I felt very unusual when I walked in the church because it was very old, and had very old things in the church and had very funny music on, it was spooky. …  On our way back it was raining and all the gravestones looked mouldy. I enjoyed it at the church it was a lot of fun.                                                                           (J Whitham)

  The church is enormous.  It was built in 1858.  The first vicar who went in the church was the Rev. William Banham M.A. He was vicar between 1858 and 1920 …  The church is very interesting. …  I learned a lot about the church and had a real fun time. …  Mr Holmes has a bookstand with an eagle on the top because an eagle is powerfull and the Christians believe that the bible is powerful too. 
                                                                                               (K Cook)

…When everything is quiet in the church you can’t hear anything only the cars it’s wonderful to hear everything what gose by.    I thought that the church wouldn’t have so much stuff in because there is a pulpit is a thing were the vicar gose and talk to the people.                                                                                 (P Watson)

It was a nice sunny day and we went up to the church and I had a feeling that it was very old … The Vicar chose 4 volontears and put the four chasubles on us and I was one of them and I felt like a vicar myself.  Then I went and looked at the bread and wine and I saw that someone had had a nibble on it.  Then I went and read the bible.  I think the bible is powerful.  Then I saw the pulpit and I went up and thought of something to say. …  Mr Holmes rang the bell and all the rest of the school herd the church bell ringing. …  The Church smelt fresh and lovly and clean.  I felt all refreshed inside.  The music was nice and soft and made the church feel calm.                                                                   (MWatson)

The Truth beneath the Image

Last Tuesday (as I write), having ‘been to see the Vicar’ about our forthcoming wedding (always strange to have the tables turned), Beccy and I went for a walk at Sprotborough.  It was, I think, just the day after a fatal crash outside The Boat Inn, next to the River: the dashed lines on the road, which marked the trajectory of the vehicle, and the bouquets of flowers, with their brief, heartfelt messages, each, in their own way, told their part of the tragic story.

We walked in the direction of Doncaster, but only as far as the A1(M) viaduct which carries the teeming traffic high over the valley.  On the way back we saw the pleasure boat at its mooring and it reminded me of a previous walk at Sprotborough and a strange experience.  It was evening, and we had walked from the Pub in the opposite direction, through the reserve known as Sprotborough Flash – a wooded area with ponds to the north of the waterway and I think a disused quarry to the south.  It was getting quite dusky as we started to make our way back to the car and it seemed very tranquil.  But then the peace of the evening began to be disturbed – sounds of music and laughter became audible and drew gradually closer.  Eventually, round the next corner of the river the boat appeared, decked out with lights and crowded with people.  Evidently the party was in full swing, with a band playing and some kind of stand up comic sending people into fits of laughter every once and again.  Standing on the bank had seemed fine, now on-the-boat was obviously ‘the place to be’.  All this while the boat was still some distance off.  But then the bizarre nature of the moment revealed itself.   As the boat drew past, with us to its starboard side, it was we who burst out laughing in amazement.  Sure enough there were lights and there were people, but they were all sat there, glum and mute.  There were neither musicians, nor a comedian but only a stereo system with the volume turned up loud.  All the party spirit was simply an illusion!

A sad commentary on modern life?  Perhaps the Church has the problem of finding itself in exactly the opposite position.  People perceive it to be dead, boring, out of touch, trivial, and so on; whereas, in fact, behind the scenes, we should have the secret of life-in-all-its-fullness, a source of strength for living that life and the truth of reality at its greatest depths.