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St Mary, Crimplesham
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Crimplesham comes into the benefice with Downham Market, a heartily Anglo-catholic parish, and some of that influence is felt here, with devotional statues and pictures. It is all very simple, a church furnished in a seemly manner. The only jarring note is the organ, which dominates the small chancel, and partly cuts off the view of the sanctuary from the nave. But otherwise, it is a peaceful and uplifting interior, obviously well-loved and cared for.
I liked this church a lot, and so it is with a slightly heavy heart that I must tell you that we were treated with some suspicion when we went for the key. I must hasten to add that this was not so much the fault of the keyholder, who was a charming old boy who I chatted to for quite some time when I took the key back, but the fault of the instructions he had been given which required him to ask me for something that identified me as security. As I only had my bank card with me, he took that. When I raised concerns afterwards with the rector of this group of parishes, especially about the possibility of the parish making itself vulnerable to accusations of identity theft, this policy was swiftly altered.
It is worth saying that keyholders, and suspicious ones in particular, are no defence against theft and vandalism. Indeed, keyholders statistically make theft and vandalism more common, because ordinary pilgrims and strangers will be less likely to visit the church, and the best defence against theft and vandalism is a well-visited church. I doubt that single-minded thieves would be put off by being asked for ID or deposit. I dare say they are fully prepared for that kind of eventuality.
Simon Knott, June 2009
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