What on earth is the church for….
Its a question that is being asked more and more these days…partly because people are much more willing to ask questions about this sort of thing these days… in fact we actively encourage people to think about what the church is for.
The main purpose of the church (the people) is to say thanks to God for the blessings we enjoy, and to praise God because its right to give God thanks and praise. The building (which most people think of as church) is the place in which we worship.
Secondly, the church building is there as a resource to show love to its neighbours…. (Love God, and love your neighbour as yourself).
The big question is how we do this.
These days Church of England churches and their buildings are doing all sorts of things that when they began they probably wouldn’t have even dreamed of:
- community cafe’s
- open house where people can come to light a candle, have a chat with someone, experience some peace and quiet, find assistance with problems
- a place where people can meet (knit and natter groups, craft groups, book clubs, toddler groups, teenagers groups)
- a place for business meetings/conferences (we used to do our health service training in the local church in York, the aisle came in very handy for some kinds of exercises)
- a library, or a post office, or even a village shop that sells emergency supplies (usually in rural areas)
- a food bank/parish pantry/parish fridge
- Local heritage centre
- small wedding receptions
- lunch clubs
- fellowship club
- literacy classes
- debt advice groups
- AA groups
- Art classes
This is a huge list and churches don’t do them all usually (though some city churches have become community hubs where all these things do happen). However, at the moment, without disabled access and toilets it is difficult for us to do most things easily, and to be the friend to the community that we would like to be.
Of course a church’s primary function is worship but as one of the biggest venues in the community (and one of the most challenging to maintain) its important that we make the church (people and building) as accessible to people as we can for all of the activities that take place in church. .
To this end the church council has sought permission to put a ramp up to the front door of the church, and to build an accessible toilet, and kitchen at the back under the west window and permission has been given by the authorities for us to do this. The design is such that the kitchen and toilets would be screened off unless they were in use, and there would be an area at the back for tables and chairs (cafe area). We hope that this will make the church a more flexible and usable space which the community would be proud to be part of. After all, the church belongs to the parish and we are custodians not just for now but for the future. We are hoping that we will be able to secure grant funding for the majority of the works.
Rev’d Karen would be interested to hear your thoughts on how we might improve the way in which the church can carry out its work, and she can be contacted via email in the first instance:
Reverendkaren @btinternet.com (don’t include any space in the email address…the space has been put there to try and prevent spam.)