Comments: opinion

Here in Ireland, particularly in the countryside of the West there are many ruins of churches that were abandoned after the civil war and partition. The message they send is rather mixed. As an outsider here it seem the demolition option would be appropriate. This would leave many scenic graveyards. A few have been 're-purposed' but again the message is mixed. They could be good conversation starters but it's a conversation many would rather avoid. While living in Germany we saw one old church turned into a nightclub very akin to the one depicted in 'Inspector Lewis' a few years ago. In the case of the writers of the Lewis episode the the message seemed very clear.

Posted by Andrew F. Pierce at Saturday, 9 August 2014 at 12:57pm BST

Re Giles Fraser's question: I was once taught "the Church is the only organization that exists primarily for those NOT in it" * (i.e., its mission extends to the oikumene, the "whole world" Christ redeemed). Ergo, our charity---our solidarity, to protect them---should be even GREATER for the Yazidi, than for fellow Christians. But will we do so?

* A quote that Google tells me is variously attributed to ABC Wm Temple or C.S. Lewis: interestingly, both Anglicans.

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 9 August 2014 at 9:35pm BST

"the simple solidarity of being human". Thanks Giles Fraser. I agree with JCF's comment. So often churches concentrate on ministering to their 'own' instead of, literally, going out to those in need (not those they think they need to convert). Spreading the gospel through action, not sermon.

Posted by Pam at Saturday, 9 August 2014 at 11:16pm BST

There's a famed instance of an Episcopal church in Manhattan that was repurposed as a night club/disco called The Limelight. It was later closed on drug charges and is now being repurposed again as a collection of upscale boutiques.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 10 August 2014 at 3:58pm BST

A quote that Google tells me is variously attributed to ABC Wm Temple or C.S. Lewis: interestingly, both Anglicans.

JCF, that quote, in various forms, is indeed widely attributed to Archbishop Temple. (Maybe also to C S Lewis, but not so commonly). It is not difficult to find quotation websites with the Temple attribution. The problem is that no one can find when and where he said it! I tried to trace it for my PhD Thesis as I wanted to get it right, but couldn't find it anywhere. I tried the William Temple Foundation in Chester, who said they are always being asked that question, but can also not find a reliable source for the quote. They did, however, agree that it is just the sort of thing he might have said!

Posted by Edward Prebble at Sunday, 10 August 2014 at 10:13pm BST

Thoughtful piece by Giles Fraser as usual, but slightly too much information when it came to shooting heroin in the car park. Graphic embellishment to show that his parish is in the real world perhaps?

Posted by Anthony Archer at Sunday, 10 August 2014 at 11:19pm BST
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