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Signpost & Church services - February 2023

on Wed, 01/02/2023 - 12:00pm

Download a PDF copy of 'Signpost' at the link below.

Revd. Mary Harwood
[email protected]
Tel: 01235 76925
Mobile: 07721 437316

Dear Friends,

We have some splendid churches in our villages of great historical and architectural interest, and although in close geographical proximity, they are each unique, reflecting the story of their community over the years. The church is often the largest building in a country parish and comes into its own at times like Christmas: all the churches in our Benefice were comfortably full for our Carol and Christmas services. Having an empty building for much of the year, though, is not necessarily to do with ‘falling congregations’. During the Middle Ages, many churches were extended with aisles and chapels to accommodate extra altars for patron saints and ‘chantry chapels’, such as those in Childrey, but for most people, going to church on an ordinary Sunday was unusual.

Come the Reformation these crowded, colourful spaces used for hosting processions, elaborate ceremonies and performances like the medieval mystery plays, must have felt strangely empty as the focus turned to preaching and readings. But in due course there were bands of village musicians playing in the gallery at the west end of many churches and later church organs.

In the 21 st Century churches continue to adapt to serve their communities in imaginative ways such as providing post office facilities and community shops. Concerts and social events are again common, as in the Middle Ages. In some of our churches we have made room for kitchens and toilets.

Whatever the constraints of the building, though, I hope our Ridgeway churches are places where people feel welcome to wander in, to mark special times in their lives, to ponder at their history, to wonder at their architecture and to connect with that sense of something beyond our day-to-day selves which so many feel in these marvellous, multi-purposed old buildings.

Linda Soames : Ministry Team