Canon Tom Kennar, rector of St Faith’s Church, Havant, explains why repairs to the church’s organ and weathervane are so important
Much to the frustration of both ourselves and Havant residents, St Faith’s is currently closed for much of the day while our church organ is restored.
This is an enormous project, with a price tag of nearly £40,000.
Some people have wondered why we would do this.
They say: ‘Why don’t you rip out the creaking old collection of pipes and leather wind-bags, and replace them with a cheaper digital organ?
‘And then you could use the space for handy storage, or a new chapel.’
I understand such comments, of course.
Modern conveniences of all kinds are often smaller, neater and more practical than their older counterparts.
But something of the history of Havant would be lost for ever with such a decision.
As far as we can tell from our sparse parish records, our organ was built by the celebrated Alfred Hunter and Son – probably around 1870.
Since then, it has been played for every major celebration that has taken place in St Faith’s.
It has survived two world wars and been the background to thousands of weddings, remembrance services, funerals and civic occasions.
Every Christmas, for around 150 years, the people of Havant have gathered to sing carols to its melodious pipes. And that’s to say nothing of the weekly round of regular services at the church. Something very precious would be lost if our organ was replaced.
The same, of course, is true for the whole church building.
We’re also having some work done to the weathervane and clock on our church tower. We’re just about to re-wire the church and install new lighting.
We know there has been a church on this site for more than 800 years – and probably a lot longer.
Can any of us imagine the centre of Havant without St Faith’s? I know I can’t.
The same is true of churches at the heart of communities across the nation.
Throughout the ages, through changing fads of faith and belief, through wars and uprisings, even civil wars and times of great change, our churches have remained constant.
They quietly, yet insistently, call us to greater acts of love and greater faith in the God who makes us, saves us, and gives us life.
St Faith’s Church is in West Street. Call (023) 9249 2129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.