Church out of service

WITH renovations continuing on St Tugual’s Chapel, other arrangements are being made for Herm’s Christmas celebrations.

WITH renovations continuing on St Tugual’s Chapel, other arrangements are being made for Herm’s Christmas celebrations.

For any small village, the church tends to become a focal point in the community.

We can sometimes take the little chapel for granted in summer. Apart from an hour’s service each week, it generally just serves as a tourist attraction and point of interest for those who venture up the hill.

It is in winter - when we have time to really come together as a community - that the church becomes a part of our lives again. It has been in much the same condition and decor since the Wood family had their first service there in 1949 and its simplicity and quaintness is part of its attraction.

Maintenance of the chapel is the job of the States of Guernsey, which is currently replacing the very damp and crumbly roof. This also involves working on the roof of Priests House, site of the oldest building on the island.

The whole area is currently covered in scaffolding and workmen. Although there is still access to the Manor Village, for the first time in many years the church will be out of service all over Christmas.

This will mostly be felt this week. For over half a century, the schoolchildren have performed their nativity on the altar step to a full house of residents. According to Jenny Wood’s book, the first nativity in 1954 ‘was performed in the chapel by the light of hurricane lanterns, which threw long shadows over the old granite walls’.

This year the children will have a new location and a new challenge to recreate the atmosphere the windblown church usually provides.