The story so far
"When did Footprint begin? Honestly, it’s hard to say. The 1990s saw a wonderful transformation of the Abbey. The stonework was cleaned inside and out. A new organ was installed and vaults opened up. So much of what the Abbey does now has only become possible because of the work done then. Was that when Footprint was born?
In 2005 and 2006, the Abbey Church Council and other leaders met to think about the Abbey’s ministry. Common to both meetings was the issue of buildings. At every turn, the effectiveness of the Abbey’s ministry was being compromised and inhibited by its buildings. Perhaps that’s a better date to choose for the birth of Footprint.
Well, it’s been a long journey since then and, one by one, obstacles are being overcome. The right people have turned up at the right time. In March 2013, Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent was granted by B&NES. Money has been available through the sale of the lease on Abbey Church House or generous gifts from the Friends of Bath Abbey and others.
A huge amount of work has been gone into research and feasibility, trial excavations and repairs, monitoring and testing of all kinds.
Somewhere along the road, the name appeared and stuck - FOOTPRINT.
- It reminds us of Jesus, the one we follow.
- It reminds us that we are enlarging the spaces of the Abbey, creating a bigger Footprint in the city.
- It reminds us that we need to reduce our carbon Footprint.
It also reminds us of the God of the journey. The story of the Bible is one of encounter with God who is best known on the way. Growing churches have always understood this. It begins with God. In prayer we catch a vision of what he is doing and the challenges that may lie before us. In faith we set out, step by step, and see him at work.
All of us will have questions, doubts, and fears about this journey. Of course. But as we walk together on the way, praying as we go, we are seeing questions answered, doubts turn to confidence and fear dispersed by joy.
Footprint is just a visible expression of what it means to be a Christian in this special place at this special time. We’ve come a long way, and there’s a long way to go but we are blessed to be here - today."
The Rev Prebendary Edward Mason
Rector of Bath Abbey