Monday, June 8, 2015

Church of England decline heralds calls for innovative use of church buildings

From The Guardian-

Occasionally, someone will stick their head around the huge wooden door of the church of St Peter and St Paul in Great Casterton and, on spotting the vicar, express surprise. “They say: ‘Oh, does something happen here?’” says the Rev Jo Saunders. “Well, yes: services, every week.”

She notices something similar at weddings, where guests hover outside before the service, a little intimidated about entering. Occasionally, after the service, they will ask if the church is very old and be astonished to learn that parts date from the 12th century. “But that’s lovely,” she says, “because, who knows, maybe they will come back some day?”

Saunders has been vicar at this ancient Rutland parish for six years – and also in the neighbouring villages of Little Casterton, Pickworth, Tinwell and Tickencote. Each has a beautiful ancient church building (though Pickworth is merely Georgian), and each hosts regular services, though not all every week. But while Great Casterton (population 365) can attract up to 50 for a Sunday morning service, its little sibling generally hosts around a dozen. Pickwell boasts the same. Average attendance at Tickencote, once a month, is six.

More here-

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