Sunday, 1 April 2012

A Gap

Perhaps the most famous scene in the Sherlock Holmes stories occurs in the story "Silver Blaze". Holmes has arrived to investigate the apparent murder of a race-horse owner's most trusted employee and the disappearance of the race-horse. Having found that the official detective has diligently collected a lot of information, he runs through the information and then says he is leaving. The Inspector asks if he wants to draw his attention to anything. Holmes actually refers to two things - an epidemic of slight lameness among sheep kept near the stables and "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

"The dog did nothing in the night-time!" the Inspector exclaims.

"That was the curious incident," Holmes replies.

Now for my curious incident this morning.

Near my house is a small shopping-centre with a post office and a building which used to announce itself as "Kingsway Evangelical Church". That was on a large, prominent white board across the top of the front of the low brick building and also on a neat square notice behind a glass panel.

This morning I approached it and got that strange feeling that comes when you notice something is not as you expect, but for a moment you don't know what.

The big board had a conspicuous big gap in the sign. It now said:
KINGSWAY *********** CHURCH. The middle bit had been painted out. I looked at the square notice. The gap was less obvious, but the same thing had happened: the word "evangelical" had simply been removed.

It set me wondering. Had the ruling committee or whatever decided going out and converting people was not very important after all, or gay marriage was a really good idea or it was possible to get too enthusiastic about Jesus? Here my ignorance came into play. Were the churches calling themselves "evangelical" and not part of some traditional set-up such as the Church of England or the Baptists organised under some structure of authority? If so, had the Kingsway church offended against some requirement or split away on some point of principle? Or had they all decided to drop the word for some reason?

Whatever it was, it seemed to have happened quite suddenly: otherwise the signs would have been replaced, not awkwardly censured.

Sherlock Holmes would have had an answer.

Back to the reorganisation at Odanglesex County Council next time.

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