ChurchesThread Started September 21 at 1:28PM
I thought I'd change the theme from recent debates about beliefs to the places people worship in. Churches.
I grew up in a small village, and like most rural English villages, we had a big old Anglican (Church of England) church, with stained glass windows, and a vicar who lived in a big house (the vicarage). All in the village knew the vicar; he was very involved in village life. He used to be in the local theatre group (which I joined), and was a fine actor. Though my family didn't attend church (my mother wasn't atheistic as such, she just hated going when she was a child), I went with school a lot (as I've mentioned, most elementary schools were C of E). The vicar always did interesting sermons. and tailored them to his audience.
My friend at the time belonged to something called 'the community church', which met in the village hall on Sundays. I really wanted to go to the community church, mostly because they sang more lively songs and played tambourine, but my mother wouldn't let me. She thought it was a 'cult'. 'You're C of E', she'd tell me, 'and that's the only church you are going to'. It wasn't really that cultish, but my friend's dad rang my mum a few times, asking her to let me go there, and I think she thought he was pushy.
There were some catholics in the village, and one Jewish family. The children attended our elementary school because there weren't any ones near enough of their faith, but they didn't have to do religious assembly with us, and the Jewish boy didn't have to say grace, or help decorate the Christmas Tree.
Today, here on Sark, it's much the same as my youth. One Anglican church, and a Methodist chapel. We used to have a priest come over once a month to give catholic services, but there aren't any practising catholics here now, so he doesn't bother.
Our Methodist minister has just started taking Anglican service as well, because the C of E has decided they can't afford to place another vicar with us. I don't really know what the difference is between Methodist and Anglican, except that Methodists have had female ministers for a lot longer than Anglican, and Methodist Chapel seems more relaxed, though I only went once for a friend's daughter's baptism. Anglican tends to be quite austere in its approach.
Just like in my old village, Sark people turn up to church for the big ones (Easter, Christmas), and the pet services, but don't bother much, except for the small core of regular worshippers. The Methodist Minister, and previous Sark Vicars are, again, very involved in Island Life, every body knows them, etc.
Once, about a hundred years ago, I joined a Baptist church, near where I lived at the time. Now that WAS quite cultish, and very hellfire and brimstone. Believe it or not, I did the whole bit, bible study and everything. I still lived at home at the time, but, at 16, was a little too old for my mother to feel she could forbid it outright, but she didn't like it, and gave me strict curfews on Church nights. I wasn't allowed to talk about it at home, or spend more than one night at church (they didn't just do Sundays). Luckily for her, I soon got tired of it. I'd only really joined because we'd just moved to a new place, and the few friends I'd made went. I was very lonely, unhappy and vulnerable then, which my mother knew, hence the restrictions and the worry. Plus it was outside of her understanding. England wasn't like America, with lots of different weird and wonderful churches (there's a lot more different ones here now). She only really knew about C of E and Catholic. To her, everything else was the equivalent of running off with Charles Manson.
I never told her my step-grandmother, on visits with my father, used to take me to Spiritualist Church, Dad tol me not to say, and she'd probably have stopped me seeing my dad if she had known. But if I was to 'do' Church again, that might be one of the ones. It was so friendly and welcoming, and I liked watching the mediums do the readings (Derren Brown forever wrecked any belief in spiritualism, for me, when he showed how easy it was to be a convincing fake. Google him if you don't know the name.)
I'd be interested (genuinely, not wishing to argue about beliefs on this thread) to know about your church experiences. What church you attend, if you do, and what you feel about the place you worship in, and the people you do it with. I'm particularly interested to know if anyone has been to one of those 'mega' churches I've heard about, where thousands of people go.
As a little extra on the role churches have played in my life, when we buried my Grandfather last year, we went to the same church I used to go to with my grandma, to clean the 'brasses' (Anglican churches have an army of old women who do the brasses and the flowers, and dust the pews). I hadn't been in there since I was a child. It seems so big then, with endless rows of pews, and a high up pulpit.
As an adult, it was tiny. I wrote a poem for granddad and read it at the service, standing at the old brass lectern I remembered cleaning.
In big cities, I imagine there's all sorts of churches ('ve never lived in a city), as well as Mosques, Synagogues and Temples. Big ones, small ones
Short Works Rating
Reply on September 23, 2017 03:53 PM << Modifed September 24 at 11:31AM >>
You have asked a difficult question, to answer...but I will make an effort to do so...I was raised in Brooklyn one of the boroughs of New York City, where the population is (as of 2012) is 2, 629,150 million people...
I can only speak to the churches I know about, or have visited...my daughter is a member of "Christian Cultural Center" where the present membership is about 13,000...the other
great church is "Brooklyn Tabernacle" and has about 16, 000 members...these are the 2 churches with the greatest number of members...the congregations are mixed, a combination of all nationalities, black and white...I don't know enough about the Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim religious halls to comment...and I can only speak to the Churches I do know about.
I will speak to the Christian Cultural Center because I have visited there, and was so happy about what I saw...they have a large library, with both inspirational and classic literature available for sale, or rental...a small eating place, and many programs that are helpful to the lives of all people, with an emphasis on the youth...it is a very large building, which is not elaborate, or showy...and does serve the public...the name nondenominational simply means All Christians are welcome.
There are also other large Christian churches, by denomination, also, just not with nearly as many members...with schools, libraries, eating places also...these churches serve the community when needed, with food, clothing, children's needs, and all that could be done for those that ask for..there is also yearly march for breast cancer, I can't do the walking, but I do contribute...
I live in Nassau county, New York, (total population 1,339.532) in a small hamlet called Roosevelt, where there is a population of about 16,500 people...and numerous Churches of all denominations...
There are few Jehovah Witness halls in Nassau county, some serving more than one community....(many more in Suffolk county on Long Island)...the hall that I belong too has a membership of only about 3 or 4 hundred...and depend on themselves for all of their own needs and expenses, yet we do not have a tithing system, people give what they can...many give more than others, and the amounts given is not discussed with the membership.
It is like all other places of worship...there are special friendships, a place for people that have special needs, transportation is always available by individual members,
the building is not at all elaborate, and does hold 2 different congregations,,,( 1 English, and 1 French).
The headship consists of a supervisory Elder, Elders Ministerial assistants, Pioneers (those serving 60 hours or more per month)..and those that are called publishers.
There are Bible classes offered, talks by speakers of other halls, and their are volunteers that take care of the cleaning, maintenance and repair of this building...and also the buildings, and homes of members (when asked)
There is a feeling of brotherhood here, simply because, as in other places, Witness members are not always welcomed in the community...We share meals, especially with shut-ins, child care is available at halls, and once a year we celebrate the greatest celebration of this religion...and that is called the "Memorial"...(Christ's last supper). but do not in any way take part in any political affairs.
I have found in all the churches I have ever taken part in, to be the same as one would find on the outside...people are people no matter where one would go, at least in my humble opinion, some are good, and some are not so good..but they are places where we learn to be the very best we can be, yet never reaching perfection.
However, there are millions of people, that have never entered any church and are fine and decent people...I hope that gives some idea of what its like to be a part of any religious institution, of course because of the size and span of the communities I mentioned, its difficult to include all of the Christian based churches...
Just Some Thoughts!
Reply on September 24, 2017 08:35 AM
Thanks for joining me on this one, Mrs M. Your church sounds like a community centre, offering useful facilities to the public, as well as space to worship. Although I love old English churches, they aren't practical buildings, are always freezing cold (I thought that was deliberate, to keep people awake during the sermon, lol), and there's something austere and forbidding about them. I couldn't imagine browsing in a library there, or speaking in anything other than in hushed tones.
Reply on September 28, 2017 10:37 PM
I am a temple.
Other than that...yes, I've attended and worked at a mega church...and that could have something to do with why I won't attend a church now.
I think the Netherlands...once 95 percent Christian and now, almost 95 percent non-Christian...have turned their lovely churches into apartments, stores, libraries and so forth.
In other words...we are spiritual.
We don't need other men or women to tell us the truth...it abides within us.
Reply on September 29, 2017 02:18 AM
They've done that with some churches in the UK. What was it about the mega-church that turned you off, Linda? I'm curious because we never really had them this side of the pond ...
Reply on September 29, 2017 08:31 PM
Actually, I have fond memories of my days there.
I worked in the office when I was pregnant with my first son. I was supposed to go back and be an "assistant" to some pastors.
I did not want to leave my son in daycare, so I had the option to be a stay at home mom. Now that I'm older, I have had days where I regretted giving up my own goals, but then I see my wonderful sons and have to say to myself...I must make my way now.
It was actually in a bit smaller church where I was judged when I left my husband...I got so tired of the
control, religious uprightness and how "they all had the answers"
There are some wonderful people in those churches, but, now it all seems so robotic, controlling and soulless.
Thanks for asking
P.S....It seems my 30 year old son is an Ironman in CA...lol
Reply on October 1, 2017 08:12 AM
Sorry you had that experience, Linda, at what must have been a difficult time.
Ironman? Like those superfit folk who do endurance races and things?
Reply on November 6, 2017 10:23 PM
When it comes to going to church...
just a place to get shot these days.
I knew that was coming.
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