What shall we do with all these Churches?

St_Gargoyles1On Friday in the Guardian Giles Fraser wrote in his Loose Canon column that the Church of England needed many fewer Churches. He suggested that if the Church of England were in a position to spend less time, energy and money on maintaining its many thousands of ancient beautiful and loved parish churches it would be able to give more time and attention to its most important work – proclaiming the gospel. He said that we need someone to do the same job for the Church of England as Lord Beeching had done for the railways in the 1960s.

By coincidence, in the Church Times on the same day, there was a report of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury preaching at the consecration of a new chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary in the United States, their old chapel having burnt down in 2010. Here the Archbishop posed the question, “Why is it that we are so addicted to buildings?” He said that sometimes the buildings are the servants of the Church and at others they are the Church’s “tyrants.” Continue reading “What shall we do with all these Churches?”