Debate Tuesday – Should Church meet in a Church or a Shed?

Exeter Cathedral at Winter
Available From http://www.twelvebaskets.co.uk/view/images/landscape-moody-cathedral

We suggested last week that if we were to list the questions asked by church going folks over the ages, one of the oldest might well be: “Where do we ‘do’ Church?” Where should people meet together as a community of believers?

So we’re asking: “Should Church meet in a church or a shed?”

Now, I just want to be clear. I don’t really mean a shed. I mean any building that isn’t a “church building”, so therefore schools, homes, pubs, sheds etc…

Last week, we looked at why Church should meet in a shed? This week – we look at why an actual church building can be useful…

  1. Need to host an event for more then a handful of people? Thats fine, we’ll have it at the church…
  2. Climbing over chairs / pews is something that every church going youngster has to do at least once. If they do that over someones posh furniture – they’ll get in trouble.
  3. Its a Church! Its Gods house! (Apparently… )
  4. Having a church building provides a spiritual focus for the community.
  5. Who says a church building has to have a spire and stuff? Some church buildings double up as a community center…
  6. Meet in someones home… that “someone” normally has to clean… wash up… serve tea… coffee… any other random drink order… If you meet in a building theres at least a greater chance that a rota can be set up to share the work load.
  7. Houses are getting smaller. This doesn’t make it easy to have  a large group of people over.
  8. Life is hectic. Work then. Blog on your phone between there and there. Play with the kids when you get home. Going to a church building gives busy people the chance to stop. Be still. And listen.
  9. No double bookings! Need an extra meeting? No need to struggle to find a location, or cancel other meetings. Have it a church!
  10. You’re organised enough to have your own building! This act alone makes you better then that lot meeting in the house down the road…

 

(With thanks to our sample group who offered a lot of opinions on the subject)

  • Do you meet in a Church building? Is it a pleasure or a pain to have your own building?

2 Replies to “Debate Tuesday – Should Church meet in a Church or a Shed?”

  1. Yes, we have a building, it’s modern, flexible, well equipped. It’s not a community centre, but we have many users of the building who are not ‘church’ organizations.

    There are of course some difficulties – it costs a fortune to maintain for example, but the main thing is we have somewhere to invite people into that’s welcoming and comfortable.

  2. We have 5 church building, all ancient, with deficient heating and totally crowded out with pews. We do use them occasionally, but our reality is that in the winter months it costs so much to fire up the heating for a meeting that it becomes uneconomic. Most still don’t have amenities such as running water, WC etc, Weddings are a nightmare.

    Another issue is location. Some of our rural churches are not ideally located, out in leafy lanes or culd-sacs, now remote from the villages, which have grown away from them. No street lighting and narrow country lanes can be a safety nightmare for groups meeting in the evenings.

    We continue to worship in our church buildings, the majority are open all week, so visitors can come and just ‘be’ but not a lot happens most of the time.

    Most of our meetings take place in Village Halls (themselves converted from redundant Methodist Churches) or the School Hall.

    It’s sad that our older Sacred Spaces are empty most of the time. I would love to seem them reordered and opened up for the wider use, but wider social and community issues come into play – people are uncomfortable about using churches and would rather go to the pub or village hall. But, threaten to close them and they close ranks and become one.

    It’s this spirit we need to generate, but without the negative connotation of church closure – cementing communities is key. The Village School is the meeting place for younger families, the Pub for most of the rest. So, holding informal services in both are on the agenda.

    At least we have options, many villages don’t with pub closures, no village hall and churches are the only remaining community space.

    We need to position our churches as the community space of choice, but we also need to spend more on maintaining and modernising the facilities that people expect at a fairly basic level.

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