*** DEBUG END ***

Rural churches: don’t give up on them yet

06 November 2015


From the Revd Jean Mayland

Sir, — A retired priest in Newcastle diocese, I have misgivings about the report on church buildings which is to be presented to the General Synod (News, 16 October).

The previous Bishop of Newcastle had a strong policy urging small country parishes to have their churches open during the day. Most followed his advice, and one could drive anywhere in the diocese and know that country churches were open, and one could go in and sit and admire and meditate. One church is open 24 hours a day every day of the year. There are six regular services a year.

Before my health became too bad, I frequently celebrated holy communion in these churches on Sundays. Often the congregation was only four or five, but the churches were beautifully kept, and the worship was very sincere. At times such as Christmas, Easter, Harvest, and Remembrance, the small core of people rejoiced to welcome more people from the village to worship with them. Because they worshipped regularly, they were able to welcome people into a living whole.

Under this plan, churches would be closed most of the year. Where would these small faithful congregations worship? How dead and cold (in more senses than one) would these churches be on the four occasions!

I am opposed to this report. Maybe one day our situation may be worse, and we will reluctantly have to follow this plan. At the moment, however, I would say: keep the churches open, and give thanks for the faithful spirituality of these small country congregations.

5 Hackwood Glade, Hexham
Newcastle NE46 1AL

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Train-a-Priest Fund 2022 Appeal

Please consider a donation to TAP Africa this year. Every penny you can give goes to ordinands in Africa who face financial difficulty, to support them as they complete their training. 

Donate online

Read more about this year's appeal

Forthcoming Events

24 May 2022
Disability and Church: Intersectionality
A joint webinar from HeartEdge and Church Times.

2 July 2022
Bringing Down the Mighty: Church, Theology and Structural Injustice
With Anthony Reddie, Azariah France-Williams, Mariama Ifode-Blease, Luke Larner, Will Moore, Stewart Rapley and Victoria Turner.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)