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Source: (consider it) Thread: What puts you off from setting foot inside a church?
Sipech
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# 16870

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The other day I was wandering round some backstreets of an area of town I otherwise know quite well. I was trying to find a shortcut that avoided the main thoroughfares. Along the way, I found a small church building that I'd been completely unaware of. This morning, I had a chance to look up the church and found myself going down a very dark rabbit hole of a niche of christian belief I had hitherto been completely unaware of: British Israelism.

It put me right off the idea of setting foot inside the church. Which got me thinking.

If you've never been to a particular church but are thinking of visiting, and you are so minded to look them up before you go, what might make you:

a) hesitate before going along, or
b) prompt you to turn heel and go the other way?

For example, I subscribe to a symbolic understanding of the Eucharist and would be very hesitant about going to a church that heavily pushes the functionalist view, whether they refer to transubstantiation or "real presence". I know some shipmates might have the exact opposite reservation. But for me, it would remain a hesitation under point a).

Are things you've seen/read that have made you choose to walk on by?

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Brenda Clough
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Surely the theology is something you only get a handle on once you've stepped inside?

I knew an elderly gent (now deceased) who said that the church had to have a steeple. At that moment in time our church was in some trouble and there was talk of leaving the building and finding another. He said that if the new digs didn't have a steeple he would switch churches.

On a slightly less petty note, for me the seating is important; I have hip issues. The depth of the seat of the pews is a deal-breaker if it's too uncomfortable. Cushions also good.

Some colleges and universities here in the US did a study, about how prospective students made their decision. Why does a family choose this college rather than that -- academics, the faculty, the library? To their dismay it turned out that visuals were very important, especially the first impression. Kenyon College put this to the test. They poured a considerable sum into the front gateway of the college -- landscaping, stone pillars, etc. They keep statistics, of numbers of applicants versus the number of students that actually show up in September. And their numbers improved significantly!

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
The other day I was wandering round some backstreets of an area of town I otherwise know quite well. I was trying to find a shortcut that avoided the main thoroughfares. Along the way, I found a small church building that I'd been completely unaware of. This morning, I had a chance to look up the church and found myself going down a very dark rabbit hole of a niche of christian belief I had hitherto been completely unaware of: British Israelism.

Well, I am amazed. I've passed that church (which, by the way, is not a member of the "main" denomination which bears its name, but of an evangelical "splinter" group) several times, but I never had any idea of its beliefs. I thought British-Israelism died out in the 1940s or thereabouts. AFAIK its last bastion was in the "Bible Pattern Church Fellowship" which was a Pentecostal Church founded by George Jeffreys who broke away from Elim in 1939 over this very issue. As I happens I occasionally attended a "Pattern" church in Glasgow in the mid-70s, but British Israelism was never mention. The church closed soon after anyway.
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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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Sipech, that church sounds very much like one here in Arizona that I MWd some time ago, which is an offshoot of "Armstrongism" which, according to the Wikipedia entry you linked to, is associated with British Israelism.

I don't know -- I've MWd some very weird churches over the years, and have not been shy about mentioning in the report that I can in no way subscribe to the various beliefs they espouse. But their weirdness has not stopped me from setting foot in them -- curiosity is a strong motivator. Not that I would ever go back, though.

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Callan
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Armstrong's lot were still handing out literature at Tube Stations in London in the 1980s when I was at university (and are one of the many groups that get a dishonourable mention in Sladek's 'The New Aprocrypha' written in the 1970s.

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Felafool
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I am currently looking for a church where I can 'belong', having recently moved house to a new area of the country. So I find I'm asking myself similar but not quite the same questions.

I'm discovering some strong indicators in my gut, which may to some people seem quite shallow reasons for not going to a particular church.

Two biggies:
1) does the church have a website (and an up to date one at that?). If not, then I'm not interested - how else am I supposed to know what the church is all about and what times people get together? I am not going to drive around to find noticeboards and then get out and read them!

2) does the church have pews? If so, then I'm out of there. Uncomfortable, inflexible, anachronistic

To my mind both these issues indicate at best an inability or at worst an unwillingness to adapt to the age in which we all live, and will I think impact the churches mission to a significant degree.

Once I get past these major hurdles, I guess I'm looking for a place with an eclectic mix of people, some of whom are something like me; a sense of a thriving , worshipping, growing community that is making a difference in its locality; variety in worship and fellowship opportunities (not a one size fits all)

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Mudfrog
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There's a Bible Pattern Church in Blackpool. I went to a meeting once in the early 1980s.
This is its website. Apart from the poor layout of the site, it seems all kosher to me.

Bible Pattern Church

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by Felafool:
2) does the church have pews? If so, then I'm out of there. Uncomfortable, inflexible, anachronistic

Basically I agree with you, but to replace pews with chairs for a 200 seater church, for example will cost around £18,000 for decent wooden chairs alone, plus the net cost of removing the pews and making good the floor (assuming something can be clawed back from their sale). In some cases where the pews are on a plinth, the plinth has to be removed and a new floor made. There's a similar problem if the floor is raked. (Even plastic stacking chairs will cost about £5000 for that sort of number.)

And if the church is listed and the pews are somehow 'interesting' from a heritage point of view, the church may not be able to get permission to remove them. The Victorian Society is a notable objector to the removal of 'fine pews', and Historic England to older ones.

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Brenda Clough
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Here's an off-putter which I have seen myself -- offensive material in the racks at the front of the church. A friend of mine was on the vestry of a church in Haymarket, VA, near many Civil War battlefields. The brochure in the rack near the front door of the church was the usual thing, about the history of the building and the congregation. It referred consistently however to the War of Northern Aggression. Which is the term you use if you insist that the South won the war. I suggested to my friend that if they wanted the church to appeal to suburbanites and people with children they might want to adjust the wording, but it was deemed impossible -- some elderly church members were still fighting for Bobby Lee, and the only hope was to wait for them to die.

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Arethosemyfeet
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"Affiliated to Forward in Faith" would certainly make me think twice as would "part of the Evangelical Alliance". More generally, "Bible Believing" makes me a bit suspicious, as does any mention of a doctrinal basis. Wholehearted endorsement of the Westminster Confession of Faith. On the other side of the coin, anything that suggests support for Spong is likely to see me looking elsewhere, too.

On more aesthetic grounds, the words "praise band" or pictures of people waving flags are not going to entice me.

Ultimately I don't think any of those would put me off entirely, were it a Sunday morning and no other church was available. Heck, I was once in the remote highlands and waded through a foot-deep flood with the intention of reaching a Free Church on a Sunday morning, and was very relieved to find myself at a CofS building on the way there.

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Felafool
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[QUOTE quote:Originally posted by Felafool:
2) does the church have pews? If so, then I'm out of there. Uncomfortable, inflexible, anachronistic

BroJames replied:

Basically I agree with you, but to replace pews with chairs for a 200 seater church, for example will cost around £18,000 for decent wooden chairs alone, plus the net cost of removing the pews and making good the floor (assuming something can be clawed back from their sale). In some cases where the pews are on a plinth, the plinth has to be removed and a new floor made. There's a similar problem if the floor is raked. (Even plastic stacking chairs will cost about £5000 for that sort of number.) And if the church is listed and the pews are somehow 'interesting' from a heritage point of view, the church may not be able to get permission to remove them. The Victorian Society is a notable objector to the removal of 'fine pews', and Historic England to older ones.
[/QUOTE]

I understand all those difficulties associated with pews which is why I say they indicate an inability to adapt, and are a major distraction from mission. (Don't get me started on listed buildings and heritage...we're talking about church, not preservation of historical monumental nostalgia.)

I have been in churches where we spent a lot of energy and resources arguing about seating, and life's too short to revisit that particular internal issue ever again. Besides which pews are damned uncomfortable. No, No, No!

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Salicional
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- drum set enclosed in plexiglass cage
- long-haired man in ripped jeans singing into a microphone while playing guitar
- profuse use of buzzwords such as "vibrant, inclusive community"

I know these things shouldn't irk me so much. But for some reason they do.

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Spike

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Surely the theology is something you only get a handle on once you've stepped inside?

Not entirely. I look at the notice board and see how they describe their main Sunday service. If it's "Mass" or "Eucharist" it's probably my kind of place, if it's "Holy Communion" I'd be prepared to give it a go, but if it's "Morning Worship" I'd walk very quickly in the opposite direction [Snigger]

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Mudfrog
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If it said 'Liberal', 'inclusive', had anything about interfaith worship or yoga in the community hall, I wouldn't darken the door.

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G.K. Chesterton

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Felafool:

I have been in churches where we spent a lot of energy and resources arguing about seating, and life's too short to revisit that particular internal issue ever again. Besides which pews are damned uncomfortable. No, No, No!

Why then revisit it here? It must have some particular significance for you.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Salicional:
- drum set enclosed in plexiglass cage
- long-haired man in ripped jeans singing into a microphone while playing guitar
- profuse use of buzzwords such as "vibrant, inclusive community"

I know these things shouldn't irk me so much.

Why shouldn't they?

[Big Grin]

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Teekeey Misha
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If it said 'Liberal', 'inclusive', had anything about interfaith worship or yoga in the community hall, I wouldn't darken the door.

On the other hand if it says 'Illiberal' or 'exclusive' I wouldn't darken the door.

Other threshold barriers for me include mention of:
  • "Praise band" and/or "worship songs".
  • "The Lord's Supper".
  • the word "Alliance" in any context.
  • sales of "The English Churchman".
Anything else I might find off-putting, I can manage to ignore.

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Gamaliel
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Are we talking about an occasional visit or a calling by out of interest?

If the latter, I would be happy enough to visit any Trinitarian church for worship.

If it were an issue of regular visits or closer involvement then that's a different matter.

On the eucharistic aspect, I used to be almost irrationally wary of attending a service where people might take a 'higher' view of what was going on - as if there was some kind of heebie-jeebies or lurgy attached to it.

I don't feel that way now and feel no more uncomfortable in a 'high' setting than I would walking into a MoTR Methodist or a broad church Anglican setting - although I'd draw the line at some practices at the highest altitudes.

The same applies in the opposite direction.

I'd steer clear of anything too overtly charismatic these days - but have a sliding scale of what I'll put up with - and also anything that smacked of Young Earth Creationism and dispensationalism. Anything hyper-Calvinist would also send me running in the opposite direction.

That still gives me a fair bit of latitude.

There are anomalies in my approach. I'm more than happy to attend Quaker meetings, for instance, but wouldn't see the point of attending a Unitarian one - even though the Quakers might be just as unitarian as the Big U bods. Mind you, the same could be said of some Anglican clergy ...

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
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Despite what I said earlier about giving in to curiosity, I have to agree that much of what others have listed are turn-offs for me also.
  • Meeting in a schoolhouse or vacant office or any place else other than a proper church
  • Bible-believing
  • Drum kits behind plexiglas shields
  • Musicians dressed in what would elsewhere be considered rags (what are called schmattas in Yiddish)
  • Clergy dressed likewise
  • Family oriented
  • Room lights dimmed as at a concert
  • Eating and drinking during the service (and I don't mean communion)
  • Being asked to wear a name badge
  • Being asked to stand up and introduce myself -- or, worse yet --
  • Being pointed at, singled out as a stranger, and then asked to stand up and introduce myself
  • Tracts offered for sale that promote creationism
I've also been known to walk out on "clown masses." [Projectile]

[ 16. November 2016, 21:28: Message edited by: Amanda B. Reckondwythe ]

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Teekeey Misha:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If it said 'Liberal', 'inclusive', had anything about interfaith worship or yoga in the community hall, I wouldn't darken the door.

On the other hand if it says 'Illiberal' or 'exclusive' I wouldn't darken the door.

Other threshold barriers for me include mention of:
  • "Praise band" and/or "worship songs".
  • "The Lord's Supper".
  • the word "Alliance" in any context.
  • sales of "The English Churchman".
Anything else I might find off-putting, I can manage to ignore.

A big banner for me that says "illiberal" is mention of Forward in Faith. I would now also tend to run from any mention of oversight by a non-diocesan bishop.

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churchgeek

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I have to admit I was hoping non-churchgoers might chime in and say what stops them going in a(ny) church.

For me, though, anything smug or hateful would stop me. Otherwise, I can generally worship anywhere, but many churches I would not go back to. I know I belong in the Episcopal Church, and while I could worship in an Evangelical church as a one-off, I couldn't take more than one service's worth of "Father God, we just..." Still, overall, I'm pretty ecumenically-minded, and my taste is fairly ecumenical too (i.e., aesthetic considerations). Vapid praise songs get to me, but that's more about content.

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Teekeey Misha
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
A big banner for me that says "illiberal" is mention of Forward in Faith. I would now also tend to run from any mention of oversight by a non-diocesan bishop.

I wouldn't run away from a F-i-F church; I just wouldn't become a regular there (especially not if the preaching regularly railed against the "monstrous regiment"!) Not having a woman at the altar doesn't worry me; being told a woman can't be at the altar would worry me - hence I wouldn't become a regular. I think the things that would stop me attending a church are the things that would stop me worshipping. Hence, "worship groups" and "praise songs"; the sort of things that I know will just leave me cold or - worse - that will make me cross are things that would stop me going in. On that basis, I have no objection to pews if they're comfortable (who can worship if they feel they can't move because of a cripplingly uncomfortable seat?) but I would avoid churches that are punishingly cold. I've worshipped in plenty of churches where I've had to wear my coat (even under a cassock!) but if I'm in the congregation and need to stay bundled up in the corner in coat, hat, scarf, gloves and am still cold then I don't want to be there. If I don't want to be there, then I shouldn't be there; my worship in such cases is good for neither Him nor me.

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Misha
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L'organist
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If the noticeboard(s) in the porch or outside are a mess - lots of out-of-date material, handwritten messages on scraps of paper, etc - then I'm likely to give a wide berth. Similarly, I never cease to be amazed at the number of churches that have a openly visible piles of junk at the back. Best ever example was a place I dropped into in Kent that had magazines and periodicals more than a decade old, plus dirty coffee mugs, biscuit crumbs and a bowl of scummy washing-up water in a rear corner - although it did reflect the initial impression given by the large vase of very dead flowers on the table next to the Visitors' Book.

Anywhere with lots of dog-eared home-produced hymn sheets is also a turn-off.

(Forgot this next!)
As a visiting organist I once had to spend 30 minutes - and 6 wipes - getting a loft into some semblance of order before a wedding: dirty tissues, sweet wrappers, pencil sharpenings, etc, etc, etc, plus neither light on the console worked and there were teetering piles of dubious American Organ albums [Ultra confused]

[ 16. November 2016, 23:18: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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John Holding

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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
Despite what I said earlier about giving in to curiosity, I have to agree that much of what others have listed are turn-offs for me also.
[list]
[*]Meeting in a schoolhouse or vacant office or any place else other than a proper church
[

So no new or growing or mission parishes, then, just those that are old, established and rich.

John

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
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quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe: Meeting in a schoolhouse or vacant office or any place else other than a proper church

So no new or growing or mission parishes, then, just those that are old, established and rich.
Doesn't follow. It's possible that a new or growing or mission parish can take over an old abandoned but perfectly, erm, serviceable church building; or can afford to build their own. It's also possible that an established but far-from-rich parish can still afford to keep their building in good repair.

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"We're not in Wonderland anymore, Alice." – Charles Manson

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Stercus Tauri
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quote:
Originally posted by Felafool:


2) does the church have pews? If so, then I'm out of there. Uncomfortable, inflexible, anachronistic
hip opportunities (not a one size fits all)

Pews can be deceptive. Like lots of other furniture, ugly can turn out to be surprisingly comfortable. Ours are as ugly as sin, but easy to sit in for an hour, and even for a two hour concert. A hundred years ago they got the design just right. When we visit our neighbouring church the pew is torturing my back long before the service is over. Another local church has stackable steel framed chairs - purgatorial!

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Gamaliel
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I think the point about what puts non-church-goers or irregular attenders off is a pertinent one. Our vicar and his wife seem convinced that people don't attend church because:

- There aren't many cheesy jokes.
- Clergy wear robes and process.
- Services aren't 'fun' and need to be made to be ...

So, guess what?

We have no robes or processions and we have plenty of cheesy jokes. Sometimes balloons ...

Which is why I only ever the attend the 9am service occasionally. It's the only one I can endure.

I can understand the issue of accessibility - people have largely lost a knowledge of hymnody and liturgy.

What I don't 'get' is why the jokes have to become cheesier, why there have to be balloons or bloody three-legged races down the aisle, why there has to be bollocks.

But in numerical terms the vicar and his wife have the most 'successful' church in the deanery.

Which brings me to a more serious point. This particular parish might be cheesy but it is active in the community other than on a Sunday and it is welcoming.

Irrespective of tradition or worship style, that has to be a 'draw'.

If somewhere feels remote and disengaged that it's unlikely to encourage a repeat visit.

Warmth, friendliness and authenticity will carry a church a fair way.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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North East Quine

Curious beastie
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If it said ......'inclusive'.....I wouldn't darken the door.

One of our more evangelical members suggested we describe ourselves as inclusive after we had a disabled toilet and wheelchair ramps installed. He seemed to have no idea that others might interpret "inclusive" differently.
Posts: 6337 | From: North East Scotland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged
betjemaniac
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# 17618

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This is incredibly idiosyncratic, but coming from an extreme nosebleed high FiF background (I'm recovering, but still residually twitchy about women priests; I'm working on it), I find it very difficult to cope with churches that have signs of 19th/early 20th century anglo-catholic revival but are no longer anglo-catholic.

Dusty stations of the cross, high altars that aren't used, empty tabernacles, etc. I get very distracted thinking about the generations who put so much time, effort and prayer into exposition/benediction and all the rest, and now it's all gone.

Rationally, outside the service, I find it quite helpful as a demonstration of things returning to dust - it's just that during the service my mind wanders easily onto "who were these people? what did they love/fear/hope/dream? what would they say if they could see their church now?"

I appreciate that the same could be said for any church where things have changed over time (and most obviously for almost any pre-reformation CofE church to an RC), but I'm still at the stage of reflexively thinking about the anglo-catholics as a particularly oppressed and backs-to-the-wall embattled minority. Every ex-anglo-catholic church still feels like a defeat.

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And is it true? For if it is....

Posts: 1327 | From: behind the dreaming spires | Registered: Mar 2013  |  IP: Logged
Angloid
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# 159

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'High altars that aren't used' does not necessarily = 'ex-anglo-catholic.' But I sympathise with many of your other points.
Posts: 12891 | From: The Pool of Life | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sipech
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# 16870

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quote:
Originally posted by Spike:
I look at the notice board and see how they describe their main Sunday service. If it's "Mass" or "Eucharist" it's probably my kind of place, if it's "Holy Communion" I'd be prepared to give it a go, but if it's "Morning Worship" I'd walk very quickly in the opposite direction [Snigger]

Can I at least shake your hand as we walk in other directions. I agree that how a church describes their service is not a bad way to guess at what their kind of ecclesiastical expression is like, but I'm the opposite in which way that directs my feet. The thoughts that go through my mind when I see each are:

Mass: "You do know there's been a reformation, right?"
Eucharist: "Well done. You showed us that you can transliterate Greek."
Holy Communion: "Solid, middle-of-the-road. It's sacred, yes, but also down-to-earth."
Communion: "We're all in this together; expect a smattering of Tories in the congregation."
Lord's Table: "One for the insiders. Not sure they're used to visitors."
Breaking Bread: "Is that a Christian remake of the Bryan Cranston drama?"

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
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Posts: 3643 | From: On the corporate ladder | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged
Mudfrog
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# 8116

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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If it said ......'inclusive'.....I wouldn't darken the door.

One of our more evangelical members suggested we describe ourselves as inclusive after we had a disabled toilet and wheelchair ramps installed. He seemed to have no idea that others might interpret "inclusive" differently.
LOL indeed. Isn't that 'accessible'?

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 8104 | From: North Yorkshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
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# 812

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Ha ha ... I liked Sipech's parsing of terms used for communion. Of course, some Christian traditions haven't had the Reformation or counter-Reformation ... But then 'Mass' isn't generally a term the Orthodox would use ... So yes,I have some sympathy with his reaction when faced by Anglo-Caholic or Anglo-Papalist terminology ...

More generally, this thread has got me thinking about those things I'd find a mild irritation or those things I'd find a deal-breaker.

Mild charismatic emphasis and choruses, not a deal breaker, everyone gabbling in tongues, deal breaker.

That sort of thing.

And I can think of high up the candle and MotR equivalents to that.

Anything too Spong-y would send me towards the door ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mudfrog
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# 8116

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My experience and thinking has led me to a conclusion: if one understands the reason, the intent, behind a liturgical action, a worship style, a piece of music, a ceremony, ritual or lack thereof; if one understands the rationale or the hoped-for effect of what constitutes the way things are done or the content of the service, that might still leave us with a personal dislike or preference towards other things, but it does at least take away the prejudice.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 8104 | From: North Yorkshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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One more note on pews versus chairs.

I have problems standing for long periods without some support. If there is a pew behind me, I can press the backs of my legs against it, and this enables me to stand. If I press the backs of my legs against a chair, it moves.

Fortunately, my local church has pews.

Moo

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Everyone gabbling in tongues, deal breaker.

I think it was for St. Paul, too. Not so sure about the other stuff.
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Gamaliel
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# 812

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The other stuff probably comes down to personal preference to some extent and our individual mileages will vary on that ...

Meanwhile, Mudfrog has nailed it, I think. The reason I'm less fazed by bells and smells than I would have been 20 or 30 years ago, is because I've taken the time and trouble to try to understand it - the same applies in the other direction, of course - or with getting to grips with anyone's theology or particular emphases ...

So, for instance, I've found Mudfrog's explanations of the SA position on various things very useful over the years and I can think of similar and parallel observations Shipmates have shared on their own perspectives.

Ultimately, though, if one wants to understand sacramental worship, or charismatic worship or conservative evangelical worship or whatever else, then there's no substitute to visiting their meetings/services and experiencing or discussing it in that context.

That's why I would consider no mainstream Trinitarian Christian worship out of bounds for a visit - unless there was very obviously something amiss - such as British Israelism or the extreme word-faith element of prosperity gospelism ...

The trickier issue for me comes with some ultra-liberal settings where the traditional creedal language may be used but the intention is very different ... The Spong-y end of things.

At least with some of the more 'Out there' groups you know what you're going to get.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Callan
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# 525

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If it said 'Liberal', 'inclusive', had anything about interfaith worship or yoga in the community hall, I wouldn't darken the door.

The first three are serious statements of principle. The last is superstitious mumbo-jumbo. I suppose you think because your local pub has a Christmas Tree or the lass serving at the bar is wearing a cross round her neck that it is, in fact, a Christian establishment?

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How easy it would be to live in England, if only one did not love her. - G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 9677 | From: Citizen of the World | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
HCH
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# 14313

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The simplest detail that deters me from entering a church building is that it may be locked. There are towns in which all or most church buildings are kept locked for most of the week.
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Gamaliel
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I suspect the chapel in the OP was locked. Here in the UK some town centre churches and rural parish churches tend to be open, but less so than they used to be. I don't think Sipech was suggesting it was open for passer's by to drop in.

Some rare historic embroidery in the mediaeval parish church was recently damaged by vandals in my brother's village in South Wales, by local kids who were nonplussed when they found themselves in trouble over it ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15404 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
churchgeek

Have candles, will pray
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe:
quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
quote:
Originally posted by Amanda B. Reckondwythe: Meeting in a schoolhouse or vacant office or any place else other than a proper church

So no new or growing or mission parishes, then, just those that are old, established and rich.
Doesn't follow. It's possible that a new or growing or mission parish can take over an old abandoned but perfectly, erm, serviceable church building; or can afford to build their own. It's also possible that an established but far-from-rich parish can still afford to keep their building in good repair.
I think a congregation meeting in a school or some similar place says something about their ecclesiology and/or sacramental theology. Yes, Christians can congregate for worship anywhere. There's a reason many don't; sacred space is sacramental, and it's important to many Christians to set aside a space for worship that's not used (primarily) for other things. As for ecclesiology, gathering in an auditorium or school may indicate that the view of the church is a meeting of like-minded people. If that's not how you think of the Church, it might be a signal that a particular church isn't for you.

Here in Detroit, there are plenty of poor churches that still have their own dedicated space. Lots of it is storefront, or space converted from some other use, but it's been made a church of some sort, though not always recognizable as such without signage. There are also lots of less-than-kept-up, more traditional church buildings where small congregations still huddle.

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I reserve the right to change my mind.

My article on the Virgin of Vladimir

Posts: 7636 | From: Detroit | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sipech
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# 16870

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For clarity, the church referenced in the OP was closed when I went past, and I generally wouldn't expect any church to be open at 9pm on a Saturday evening.

I find it odd that some expect churches to be open at all times, just in case someone wants to drop in. It takes resources that not everyone has.

Re: churches in school halls vs dedicated buildings - I really don't mind where it meets. The idea that a building that's been dedicated/blessed for the specific purpose strikes me as a similar kind of snobbery that can be seen when a church refers to itself as "bible-believing". It comes loaded with a rhetoric that "[other churches aren't]".

So a school hall that's used for worship is no less a sacred space than a thousand year old cathedral. Different take on the idea of 'sacred', maybe. But I shudder when it is implied that one is superior to another.

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:

I find it odd that some expect churches to be open at all times, just in case someone wants to drop in. It takes resources that not everyone has.

My local church has a bolt on the outside to stop the wind blowing the door open and a keyhole for which no-one knows the location of the key. In rural areas it's still quite normal for churches never to be locked.
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Stercus Tauri
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# 16668

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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
If it said ......'inclusive'.....I wouldn't darken the door.

One of our more evangelical members suggested we describe ourselves as inclusive after we had a disabled toilet and wheelchair ramps installed. He seemed to have no idea that others might interpret "inclusive" differently.
We have a severely disabled toilet in our church. Nobody seems to be able to sort it.

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Thay haif said. Quhat say thay, Lat thame say (George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal)

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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I toured a church once in the suburbs. The rector said that they used to keep the doors unlocked all the time. Then one night a drunk guy came in with a rifle. Luckily the windows didn't take a bullet, but the cross over the altar still has some slugs in it -- you can see them. They locked the doors, after that.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Salicional:
quote:
- long-haired man in ripped jeans singing into a microphone while playing guitar
I would have agreed with you a few years ago, until I was invited to a church geared toward the social fringe. The pastor was a long-haired rocker with a warm heart and excellent preaching. I, a life long, MOTR Piskie went back a number of times.

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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georgiaboy
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# 11294

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On the semi-tangential issue of locked-up churches:

I once worked for a TEC church (on a busy street in a residential district) that was always unlocked and with some lights on. And I mean ALWAYS.
Said parish was very Anglo-Catholic and very poor. The priest frequently had to have secular employment to feed his family, and even so managed a daily mass.
One day they were notified by a trust company that they were beneficiary to a rather large estate. (several millions). The benefactor was not a parishioner, was not an Episcopalian (she was RC). The reason given was that 'the church was always open.'

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You can't retire from a calling.

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agingjb
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# 16555

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Gosh, well I'm content with attending a small Quaker meeting twice a month. I am slightly surprised at the diversity of promptings of the Spirit about various places of worship.

BTW, we (an agnostic and an atheist) had an excellent coffee and cakes in the cafe and library in what I assume to be the crypt of HTB. Can't say I'm moved to attend the church, but then this was on a walk from the Victoria and Albert to the Royal Academy.

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Refraction Villanelles

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Pigwidgeon

Ship's Owl
# 10192

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quote:
Originally posted by Stercus Tauri:
We have a severely disabled toilet in our church. Nobody seems to be able to sort it.

Get your coat, ST.

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Albertus
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# 13356

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
I find it odd that some expect churches to be open at all times, just in case someone wants to drop in. It takes resources that not everyone has.


Certainly Ecclesiastical Insurance, who are the main church insurers here, positively encourage churches to be kept open in daylight hours, not necessarily with a lot of stewards and so on around. Theey argue that a church that's being got people coming and going is actually less likely to be damaged or stolen from. In principle I'd like to try that at our place but it requires a bit of (small f and maybe large f too) faith that I'm not sure I've got.
Posts: 6423 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged



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