Article and Photographs: Jonathan White
Two large, hinged glass doors at the west entrance to St Mary’s Church on Monks Lane in Acton, near Nantwich were officially opened and blessed by Rev’d Canon John Malbon on the afternoon of Sunday 21st November 2021.
In his speech, prior to cutting a ribbon to officially open the new doors, Rev’d Canon John Malbon said that solid doors present a physical barrier to communication, they say ‘Keep out’. However, glass doors let light in and reveal activities. So, people can see what is happening inside and may decide to enter and join in. The Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt painted a picture – ‘The Light of the World’ – of a figure standing at a closed door and knocking, illustrating Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” The figure is Jesus Christ, and the invitation is to fellowship.
The addition of the transparent doors will let daylight flood into the church. They will also generate a light and airy feel and provide an inviting welcome to visitors at the weekly ‘Tea at the Tower’ community café, which takes place under the church tower every Sunday afternoon (2:30-4:30pm).
The doors will also allow visitors to view into the church, even when the church is closed.
The doors have been added thanks to a generous donation by the late John Milner, whose legacy in his will made the doors possible. John taught History at Nantwich and Acton Grammar School (later Malbank School) from 1972-79 and was Head of Sixth Form from 1976. John was also a reader at St Mary’s Church, Acton.
Rev’d Canon John Malbon is now retired but often leads services when the vicar (Rev Anne Lawson) is otherwise engaged. This year John celebrates fifty-five years since he was ordained in Litchfield.
A representative from St Mary’s Church, Acton said: “The effect these doors have upon the church is transformational – we very much like the conservatory feel; many thanks to Mike Houlston who orchestrated the project”.