A CLERGYMAN in Essex has found a way to provide modern facilities alongside a medieval church. A mobile welfare unit is towed to services by the Associate Priest of St Andrew’s, Hatfield Peverel, with All Saints’, Ulting, the Revd Derek Clark-Mayers.
Mr Clark-Mayers, a semi-retired farmer and former roofer, tows the 23-foot unit, which contains a lavatory and kitchen facilities, to All Saints’, in the hamlet of Ulting, twice a month.
He bought the former showground cabin two years ago, and converted it. “All Saints’ is a lovely medieval building in a beautiful location with the River Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation running by. It is tiny and charming,” he says.
“But the church is a family. And the church building is the place where the family meets. I just wanted to give the church family at Ulting a basic level of comfort to meet 21st-century expectations. I am blessed with a wonderful church family. It is an absolute joy and privilege to minister to them. And everyone is welcome in this church.
“Other road users are very gracious, and give way to me. But I got a puzzled look from the driver of a police car one Sunday, when he saw this very long cabin coming towards him towed by a man on a tractor with a dog collar on.”
The unit will be blessed by the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, after a service on Sunday at 9 a.m. Bishop Cottrell said: “I have blessed many things in my time, but this is a first for me.”
Mr Clark-Mayers said: “We have enjoyed a pet service that the local children asked for, and a concert of music by the river. Bacon butties are a definite hit.
“I am happy that the Bishop approves. The ribbon-cutting and blessing will be a red-letter day for us.”