Church benches from the Parish of Christ the Eternal High Priest in Gidea Park have found a new home in a Catholic parish in Poland.
Gidea Park had been instructed to buy new benches after two incidents of injury involving falling kneelers. Parish priest Fr Adrian Graffy was anxiously seeking a good retirement solution for the old benches when a chance conversation with Fr Marius Fura of La Salette in Rainham led to this extraordinary initiative. At the moment parishioners in the church where Fr Marius’ mother attends daily Mass in Poland have to put up with forms with no backs and no kneelers. It was decided that, once repaired, the benches could provide a solution.
Arrangements were quickly made and, on the Feast of Christ the King, lorry driver Zbigniew arrived with a forty foot Polish vehicle which he expertly backed into the church car park. The assistance of a group of 20 to 30 Poles who attend the Polish Mass in Rainham meant that the benches were easily loaded into the truck and were soon on their way to Poland.
Two days later Irish Contract Seating of County Leitrim installed brand new benches in Gidea Park church. In Poland the old Gidea Park benches will be repaired and made safe before being installed by Easter at the new church of Urszula Ledochowska in the south-eastern Polish city of Rzeszów.
Fr Adrian was delighted with the outcome: ‘This is a truly providential solution in which everyone wins. Our old benches were second-hand when they were installed in the new church at Gidea Park in 1974. They now begin a third period of service in a Catholic church in Poland. We look forward to getting pictures of our old benches, given new life by Polish craftsmen and continuing to serve the church.’