Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Opinion - 5 April 2017
Updated Thursday evening, Friday morning
Patrick Cox Public Radio International ‘What a total God shot!’ Understand that? Then you speak Christianese.
The Guardian The Guardian view on funding heritage: save buildings if not beliefs
“The ancient churches and cathedrals of Britain are real national treasures, shared with unbelievers. They must be paid for.”
Nick Baines Diocese of Leeds Bishop Nick speaks on working with the media
Liz Graveling Ministry Development Larger Churches: Who leads them and where are all the women?
Posted by Peter Owen on
Wednesday, 5 April 2017 at 11:07am BST
[Update: This article has been temporarily removed and will be reposted after Easter.]
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
I had seen that Guardian article. It's something I feel strongly about. The amazing network of ancient parish churches we have in this land, strung out in village after village, town after town, is a priceless national heritage.
I have long felt that the nation should support this heritage far more, not because of their religious content, but because they form such a part of our national way of life and history. In addition, through the generations, they have been valued parts of community, and hopefully will be again in future generations.
The worst case scenario would be the selling off of these historic buildings to the wealthy, for adaptation into dwellings etc. Where congregations dwindle, perhaps the Church should lease buildings out for sensitive community use, and even local enterprise, on, say 50 year leases. And upkeep should be maintained in such cases with state support.
I think this needs a national conversation, because this is not only about religion, but about way of life and heritage.
The thousands of churches, dating back in some cases over 1000 years, are a historical treasure. They also remain a witness and a testimony to faith. They are part of who we are as a nation, whatever our faith or belief.
Should the State pay for the upkeep of ancient churches? Probably, but it is a difficult sell when the Church of England goes out of its way to seek exemptions from national law - hardly the behaviour of a great partnership.
But in the second half of the Twentieth Century, we lost so many stately homes and our built heritage is much the poorer for it. Supporting private owners of large houses was difficult too. But it is now widely recognised how much we lost. Is that to happen to churches next? The next generation would feel the loss were that so.
One of the biggest obstacles to safeguarding the church's heritage may be the puritanism of those who enjoy making the point that "church" is the people, not the building. Well fine, play that semantic game, but the people are shaped by the buildings, and I for one believe that our past is worth saving.
Once a church building is sold as a piece of real estate it becomes just another building. And yet it can never be just another building. The people who form a congregation are the body of Christ and the building is part of that dynamic. It's a very real relationship.
Why has Liz Gravelling been put in the cupboard till after Easter? Too many home truths or must we just focus on chocolate related controversy till then?