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We want to say thanks again to everyone who’s given to the New ship fund, which has been quietly rising to almost £5,000 during December. The fund is going to enable us not only to complete the building work on the new site, but also run it over the next year – so a huge thank-you, everyone, for helping to make this possible.

Since our last news story, Ross Wintle of Oikos and his team have been creating a new look for the ship and building the website. Here’s Ross’s engineering update:

We’re really happy with progress on the new ship. We’re a little behind schedule – the captain took longer than expected choosing the colour of paint! – but the bulk of the work is done now and we’re really happy with how it looks and works. We’re itching to show it to you, but don’t want to spoil the surprise. And we’re hoping that, unlike other recent, crowd-funded ship-building projects, we don’t have any major leaks!

Mildly Interesting/boring technical note: We’re trying to copy across as much of the old Mystery Worshipper reporting as we can, and tidy up the information as we go, so we can make better use of it. This has been an interesting challenge as the reports are quite free-form in places. For example, I’ve been trying to get the actual  date and time of the service in each report into a standard, numerical format. To do this, I’ve had to educate a computer on the nuances of multi-denominational liturgical calendars, so that I can have the computer recognise the date and time in…

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, 5 November 2017, 10.30am.

As well as in a sentence such as…

April 1, 2016. I glanced at the clock on my bedside table, but the numbers had mysteriously been replaced by letters that spelled out, ‘The time is at hand.’

Well… OK… it’s not quite artificial intelligence, or fancy machine learning. But I hope you can see how this is not a trivial task. We’re doing our very best to copy everything across though! It’s fun!

Thanks for bearing with us. More news soon.