Saturday, 3 June 2017

First Find Your Church

A little guide for somebody who might want to consider it....

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

After all – what could be easier than finding a church. There’s one in every town – quite often more than one. Quite often they’ve got spires at one end, things that look like battlements or towers. Just to make them easy to find. Maybe even the word "Church" somewhere on a notice board outside.

Word of warning, though. Just because it meets some of these criteria doesn’t necessarily make it a church. You’d be surprised how many people have ended up accidentally going on a tour of Warwick castle under the impression it was a church. And that really big pointy building near the Thames in London called the Shard is an office block, not a church. Terrifying place.  They had a fire alarm once and orcs came flooding out into the streets of Southwark.

Easy to get confused

And it's quite likely some of your friends actually go to church. Albeit they aren't necessarily likely to tell you that. Christians can be notoriously diffident about being in direct personal contact with the One that created the universe, and died and defeated death. And if you go up to each of your friends in turn saying "do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?" you'll be surprised how few friends you will eventually have. So basically - don't count on your friends to tell you where the church is.

So the best thing to do is look online. Some churches have websites – yeah. I know you thought that Jesus had probably banned them from using any modern technology, but we’ve used the printing press (with and without moveable type); the phone (always useful for letting the minister know you’re having existential doubts at 2am); and now even the Internet.

So first up – some warnings about the website. Sure, type your google search in – something like “Church Husborne Crawley” if you live in Husborne Crawley, that is. If you don’t you’d be better off typing something else. Ideally somewhere near where you live. And if you’re lucky and you have the sort of local church that does it properly, you’ll get a really good list of the services they were running last year, who the vicar1  was then, and the plans for Christmas two years ago. This won’t guarantee what they’re like now, but at least you’ll know they existed recently.

Then you'll know that it might be worth going. But that's another day's adventure...

1  Vicar – from the Latin for “a substitute” – strictly speaking meaning somebody who gets paid for looking after the parish instead of somebody else (the rector or the bishop or God or somebody. Don’t ask me. I don’t get it. It’s all lost in 17th Century English society. Don’t even get me started on rectors.  Basically these days by “vicar” people mean anybody who wears a dog collar and appears vaguely plausible.

1 comment :

  1. In the '60s many churches were built which sadly do not resemble churches at all. Some look like public libraries others look like space ships. Occasionally, if you are lucky, there might be a Cross visible otherwise you will not know that the concrete block you are approaching is actually a church and is not where you should bring your library books.


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