SITTING ON THE STABLE FLOORAFTER JESUS HAS BOLTED

From THE BBC:

This church is closing because it will cost £400000 to repair it so that it is safe to be used and not enough people attend the church for worship to warrant such expenditure even if the congregation could raise the money, which is very unlikely.

Notice how there is no mention of the fact that the village will be losing a minister and a place to worship God. All the protesters are interested in is the loss of the bricks and mortar and the opportunity to have wedding photos taken outside a reasonably attractive building.

100 people turned up to the meeting that planned the sit-in. If the same 100 people had gone to church every Sunday and given £5 a week to the collection then I very much doubt that the Parish Council would have been forced to close the building they no doubt love far more than these whinging limelight seekers.

It's too late you fools. You should have trimmed your wicks years ago.

From THE BBC:

A bride-to-be has joined a sit-in at a church in south Wales, after it closed weeks before her wedding day. Emily Morton, 21, hoped to become the fourth generation of her family to walk down the aisle there in September. Ms Morton wanted to carry on a family tradition when she booked her wedding with fiance Aaron Jones, 23, six months ago.

Ms Morton is looking at booking another village church more than five miles away, but that is half the size of All Saints.

She said: "Some of our guests may have to stand outside. I'll have to book a car to get me back and from the church too."

Comments

SITTING ON THE STABLE FLOORAFTER JESUS HAS BOLTED — 25 Comments

  1. Please pardon me if I sound a bit snarky, because I don’t mean to, but I have to admit this is one advantage to pagan worship – it is usually held outdoors (given nice weather), under the open sky, with all of Nature as one’s cathedral.

    Can’t get better than that, says I.

  2. Oh, Tracie. You’re delightful!

    Actually, I think snarkiness is completely in order and I really like what MadPriest said:

    ” If the same 100 people had gone to church every Sunday and given £5 a week to the collection then I very much doubt that the Parish Council would have been forced to close the building they no doubt love far more than these whinging limelight seekers.

    It’s too late you fools. You should have trimmed your wicks years ago.”

    You’re so, so right, MadPriest.

  3. And what about rebuilding a simpler smaller space so they still have a church and minister? Why is just shutting the doors the only option? How sad. Then again, my diocese recently closed the doors on a very small congregation (we knew this was coming) and now they home church. I have made the leap and joined them and it is simply wonderful.

  4. Is there anywhere else the church could meet? I’ve known churches meet in hired halls, shops, flats, all over the place. The church is the people, not the building, and so often, a big, perhaps attractive, building ends up squeezing the life out of a congregation.

  5. This wasn’t a bride who just wants a backdrop for a pretty picture but a woman who is a regular worshipper in that church and whose mother and grandmother got married in it. You can see why she’s upset.

  6. I am willing to bet you that when she says regular she means occasionally at Christmas.

    I can see why she is upset but its the community’s fault, not the PCC.

  7. Too right MP.

    It’s that old cliché – be part of the solution, not the problem. Will a sit-in conjure up the necessary ackers? Somehow I doubt it….

  8. Erika, you’d be surprised who shows up claiming membership and regularity of worship and wanting the church to serve their immediate need and not vice versa. Yes, they were baptized there, and their mothers before them, and now they want the baby “done” but not a hint of the family between times. Of course I don’t turn them away and at the same time I also am with Jonathan on this: trim your wicks now.

  9. She makes it sound as if the PCC held a “closed meeting” for sinister purposes. Every PCC meeting apart from its AGM is “closed”. Nothing sinister there. Mind you, the PCC could have helped themselves by talking about the problems with the community, even if the eventual outcome was the same.

  10. I expect they did, SR. Or rather, there would have been for and against unless it the most unique PCC in the world.

  11. We have this lovely, large, French Renaissance, and expensive building. Yes we love it and do our best to maintain it. We have had so many couples show up expecting weddings at little or no charge with a lame story of why they should be considered members and discounted (My favorite was “last time I got married, my (late) dad was a member and I got the cheap rate.”) that we finally published a policy and set of requirements.

    “Trim your wicks” indeed.

    FWIW
    jimB

  12. “last time I got married, my (late) dad was a member and I got the cheap rate.”

    I hope you gave her extra discount for being a frequent customer 🙂

  13. I guess Tracie, you have stumbled on the reason there isn’t much pagan worship in Scotland.

  14. On the other hand.

    If some PCCs made more effort to connect with their local communities, remembering that is the parish’s church and not their own private property to maintain and dispose of as they choose, then they might be in a position to hold an open meeting where everyone comes together and discusses how to raise the 400 grand if they want to keep the church open.

  15. I just think this is sad, period.

    a place to worship God

    But what of those for whom the above function is too restrictive? Who aren’t even sure there IS a God, much less to be “worshipped”?

    In the case of the CofE, w/ its heritage AND establishment, the boundaries need to be expanded (somehow). Some sort of cultural membership, for gathering and celebration, but without insisting upon the “God” that so many in the 21st century find problematic.

    I would appoint Our Own IT (who, you will recall, spent a good hunk of time in CofE churches, before she and BP planted themselves in the friendly confines of TEC ;-/) as Special Missioner to the Non-Theistic, to figure out how to expand the membership base. Thoughts?

  16. JCF, quite honestly the vast majority of Church of England churches don’t care what people believe and would not chase people away because they have doubts. Under England’s parish system the local church almost always sees itself as a community facility and actively seeks that role – especially in villages, small towns and on estates. But a church still needs money to do this work and unfortunately not so many people who are not regular worshippers contribute to the upkeep of the church as they used to back in the day. They just leave it up to the few faithful parishioners to pay for everything.

  17. Charlie – “it is the parish’s church and not their own private property to maintain and dispose of as they choose,” – actually, it is not the parish’s church. The “Handbook for Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councillors” states quite clearly that possession of church and churchyard “is vested in the incumbent and churchwardens jointly.” The “care, maintenance, preservation and insurance of the fabric of the church … is the responsibility of the Parochial Church Council and not the churchwardens as such.”
    Under these regulations the wider parish has no ownership of the building, and whilst it would be politic and correct to seek opinions and possible support, the buck actually stops with the PCC who can ask the Diocese for closure if they can no longer maintain the property.

  18. MP,
    I think you missed the line in the BBC article that said that Sunday services would continue at a local community hall. The community is not losing their minister, nor their church (the ekklesia, the gathering of God’s people). They are simply losing a picturesque but decrepit building. Perhaps freed from expenditures on maintaining that money pit, the church might actually be able to engage in outreach and mission, and grow.
    If the upset brides-to-be were really church members, they would have their weddings in the new house of the church.

    The problem in many rural communities is that the church is the central public building (and especially after years of migration to urban areas, consolidation of rural schools, closing of shops, etc.) may be the last remaining local institution. As such, it serves not just the members, but the whole community. But the wider community think that it will always be there, and they reject any suggestion that they should support it, either through regular attendance or financially. Then they are surprised when financial pressures force closure of the building.

    Let’s hope the PCC sticks to its guns, and the bishop supports them.

  19. SR – the parish church was vested in the churchwardens and incumbent at a time when these people were public officials, and the parish was the local authority. This law envisages the parish as the whole community rather than an insular and self-defining group of “members”.

    Does anyone know if this PCC actually bothered to ask the local community if they would join in a fund-raising effort?

  20. This did remind me a bit of the few times at my wedding attendants asked “Where we found such a lovely church for the wedding.”
    “This is our parish, we met here and attend every Sunday” never seemed to be the expected response.

    I was glad to read services would continue. The whole article does show the odd priorities of people in the area. It did make we wonder if the PCC ever asked the community how much the building meant to them, and attempted some sort of funding drive.