On Saturday morning five men of the parish set about moving the church benches to create a central aisle. We were led by Andy our Health and Safety officer who had drawn up a plan to make it work. At times it did look as if the plan was going to go horribly awry but in the end we managed it. The pictures give an idea of before and after.
So far I have had many positive comments about the new arrangement which is a trial for two months. Tomorrow we have a funeral Mass and it will be nice to be able to have the coffin lying with the feet towards the altar instead of having it set out parallel with the altar so that it felt one was standing at an ironing board during the absolutions. There is also room now for the six funeral candlesticks to stand around the coffin. Another benefit is that the view of the altar is unobstructed and it makes it seem more prominent.
As the back rows are now made up of two or more benches together some people have expressed concern that this arrangement may not satisfy fire regulations so that is something to check but by and large I have been delighted by the responses I`ve had.