…and missing the door

I have written before on here about my uneasy relationship with navigation, and shown German artist Gavin Nolte’s views on the dangers of sat navs.  I can only speculate about what Nolte would say regarding yesterday’s story of pensioners Hilda and Eric Davies. They were apparently concentrating so hard on their sat nav’s three-dimensional display of the route to Oberallgau’s historic church that they smashed straight into it.  There is now a car-shaped hole in the church’s wall, and extensive interior damage.Newspapers around the world, from Austria to India, Croatia to Florida, have picked up on the story and accompanied it with dubious headlines about ‘the road to heaven’.

Some years ago we had a couple arrive late here for a service, as their sat nav had sent them to Teddington Methodist Church instead of Teddington Baptist church.  I suppose we can’t really expect such a device to be sensitive to the niceties of denominational differences!

What has struck me most about the coverage of this story, though, is the lack of rancour. Neither the local police in Oberallgau nor the priest in charge of the church have been quoted as saying anything beyond that this was an unfortunate accident and that they were concerned for the couple’s well-being. How refreshing!  Years ago I  worked in a church where there was still a yellowing notice in the church hall declaring that “ball games should not be played – by order of the Deacon’s Court”.  Once in a while it was knocked down by a low-flying football, but always replaced for old-time’s sake!

Church buildings are a blessed and sacred resource, but we should be careful not to over-emphasise their importance.

Image of Oberallgau: http://www.hauskneppler.de