Short Works Rating
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
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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