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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Let the Churches Fall Down

Here's just a thought. 

Methodists and suchlike inhabitants  of redbrick chapels have already worked this out. But the C of E will get there.

Thing is, these lovely buildings - they're not necessary, you know. There's no reason to be found in the Gospels why a small group of aging people should continue to put in all their energy to maintain a load of 800-year-old buildings.  All those jumble sales, all those thermometers outside church buildings - none of it, if carefully considered, has any justification in the New Testament.

Jesus never said, "Blessed are those who chair the Property Committee". St Paul never mentioned the need to preserve historic buildings. The members of parish churches around England have, basically, been conned into keeping their communities' most beautiful buildings in good condition  - despite the fact that it is not their problem. They're preserving a historic legacy that is no more theirs than it is that of locals who never go to Church - but like that familiar tower looming over the village.

Gennelmenanladies of England, the support of church buildings is on borrowed time. All those dedicated local Anglicans saying "we can't let the building fall down" - one day they'll say to themselves; "why can't we let the building fall down?  What's gonna happen? Is Aunt Dora, who's down near the third yew tree from the left, gonna rise from the dead to get revenge? Well, she probably will. A right terror, Aunt Dora. She wouldn't let a little thing like being dead get in the way of getting shirty about somebody letting the church fall down. But it's a chance worth taking, I reckiy.

I should say that I'm not sure about the legalities of this. There would be the need for a shadow Church of England, which members of PCCs would have to join even as they resigned from their committees and ran, freed from building-based responsibilities, into a new denomination that meets in the biggest house that the existing members of the congregation own.

But look at the advantages. Everybody suddenly gets to worship in the warm. Money can be spent on mission and ministry, not stone and crumbling mortar. Freedom to preach the Gospel, not shake collection boxes for a building project.  And all the liabilities of the buildings of the Church of England to be dumped on the shoulders of the last person to leave.

You know it makes sense. The buildings have got to go.

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