Today we await a visit from the architect to inspect a fungal growth and advise on remedial action. It's easy to resent the time and expense involved - especially when resources are tight to begin with.
At the same time, though, having an inspiring church building at the heart of the town is a real asset to the mission of the church. Proper care of the building means that it can be used by a wide cross-section of people who may not otherwise enter sacred space. It really doesn't matter whether those people come as tourists, pilgrims or worshippers; out of curiosity, devotion, or in some form of need. All are welcome and by coming here, each one may be comforted, encouraged or inspired by what they find. That may be through the atmosphere of peace and the presence of God, through the human welcome, through the architecture, art, music or liturgy, or in some other manner; there are many ways in which God speaks. This 'sermon in stone' offers an opportunity for God's voice to be heard, and presence felt.
Praying for those who enter our doors - as well as those who don't - is an important aspect of our calling. But so too is the stewardship of the building, the 'house of God' which is also the 'house of the people of God.' We must persevere, and recognise that the time and the cost are an investment in the Kingdom of God.