If you visit St Margaret’s Church, East Wellow, you may be surprised as you walk into the porch and expect to see the reassuring medieval oak door which has probably been in place there for some six or seven hundred years. From today, it won’t be there! Thankfully though this isn’t a case for Hampshire police or an investigation by the Advertiser. It’s simply that the door needs major refurbishment and is being taken to a specialist workshop in Devon to be restored to its former glory. It’s taken a lot of toil by churchwardens and the church council for permission to undertake the work as well as many generous gifts and grants. The outcome will mean that, for Florence Nightingale’s bi -centenary next May, our congregation and many visitors will see the door as it would have looked when it was first placed in the church. Through that door have passed thousands of people, for events of great joy, solemnity and sorrow. There are different references in the bible to “door” or “gate” depending on the translation. Jesus refers to himself as the gate of the sheepfold: whoever enters by me will be saved, and will go in and come out and find pasture (John 10v9) and in one of the most famous verses, from the Revelation to St John (3 v 20), the writer has a vision of Jesus saying to the Christians at Laodicea Listen! I stand at the door knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. Next week at St Margaret’s at our annual FN commemoration service a priest who is the same age as Florence was when she went to Scutari hospital, will speak about “calling” and “vocation”.

Chris Pettet, Rector of East – West Wellow, Sherfield English