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To think that the church of england should shut down half of their churches

(158 Posts)
ReallyTired Mon 10-Mar-14 19:59:41

There aren't enough priests and many churches are in completely the wrong locations to support a congretation. A lot of quaint churches are expensive to maintain.

I feel that some really quaint churches in villages could be made into wedding venues rather than parish churches. I would like to see a situation where anyone can choose to get married at the really pretty church in the lake district with no working congretation.

Even in towns there are too many churches in a short distance. I feel that existing buildings could be used in more imaginative ways that would support the entire community.

Joules68 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:01:58

So who would then pay for them and their upkeep? Local councils? Good luck with that!

winniethepoohpooh Mon 10-Mar-14 20:04:40

Are you a wedding planner?

How sad. sad

hiddenhome Mon 10-Mar-14 20:07:02

But where would the middle class elderly go for a cup of tea and a gossip? confused

SometimesLonely Mon 10-Mar-14 20:07:55

A lot of them are being closed. One where I live is no longer C of E; it's been taken over by a Polish Church and is still treated properly. There are hundreds of chapels that have been converted into houses but I can't see Victorian churches with those tall spires being converted I got married in one. They are beautiful buildings though ......

deelite72 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:08:49

I can tell that you're neither religious or aware of the fact that the majority of churches readily hire out their halls for events. I have no problem if you're non-religious, but I am a regular church goer and I find your question insensitive and unaware. Church is not just about weddings.

MsMischief Mon 10-Mar-14 20:09:01

Really quaint churches in villages are money pits.

deelite72 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:09:07

I can tell that you're neither religious or aware of the fact that the majority of churches readily hire out their halls for events. I have no problem if you're non-religious, but I am a regular church goer and I find your question insensitive and unaware. Church is not just about weddings.

Blu Mon 10-Mar-14 20:11:31

A deconsecrated church near us is an office suply company. Is that the kind of thing you mean?

I agree that most churches are prettier and more inspiring buildings than registry offices - or hotels - so using some of them for emotional but secular occasions could be an option in some places.

Surely the CoE sell them off as and when - and if a wedding / civil partner organisation buys them, so much the better!

Generally, though, they cost a fortune to heat and maintain, have access issues, and other problems associated with old buildings.

SaltyGoodness Mon 10-Mar-14 20:14:07

Some should probably be sold off... but this has always happened. It's just not something to be rushed into, the church has to be deconsecrated and that's a big step, so it makes sense to leave it a generation to be sure it's not just shifting demographics and may swing back again. A generation seems like a long time but it's not really for your average 200 year old church.

Perfectlypurple Mon 10-Mar-14 20:14:14

I am not religious at all. In fact I am an atheist but I think YABU. A church is somewhere people can go for comfort if that is what they believe. It doesn't matter how many is in a congregation or how many churches there are. If it's a church that people use then it should remain.

Also converting old churches would be terrible for historic reasons. Even though I don't believe I love old churches for their history.

Lottiedoubtie Mon 10-Mar-14 20:16:03

But they are owned by the church if England? You can't just tell an organisation to sell it's assets? What an odd thread. confused

FreelanceMama Mon 10-Mar-14 20:17:42

The CoE closes churches if the congregation can't afford the 1000s it costs for what's known as their annual "parish share" and often one priest will have to cover more than one church, especially in rural areas. Many churches are historic buildings which cost 1000s a year to repair (the government doesn't pay for this) and most churches manage this by hiring out their building and/or getting grants provided they offer a community benefit. My Church for example runs a playgroup for the local families, a youth club, a regular safe space for young teens to hang out in, etc. Of course if the CoE does sell the building it then risks becoming a Tescos (think there's one in Bath) or a wine bar.

sleepdodger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:21:14

Are you religious? And a regular church goer...??

sleepdodger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:22:39

Are you religious? And a regular church goer...??

sleepdodger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:23:13

Are you religious? And a regular church goer...??

sleepdodger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:24:36

Are you religious? And a regular church goer...??

sleepdodger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:30:55

Are you religious? And a regular church goer...??

sleepdodger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:31:17

Woah apologies!!

TiggyCBE Mon 10-Mar-14 20:34:20

But the whole point of the Church of England is to maintain old buildings!

And to spread word of god, blah blah blah, help the poor, blah blah blah, but mostly it's the buildings thing. That's why Jesus was always going on about the importance of what buildings he should be worshipped in.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 10-Mar-14 20:59:20

Many older C of E churches weren't built to be full. People often think they were, so they think they're 'empty' now. They were never designed to seat 200 just because they can.

I think it's really sad to suggest turning them into wedding venues. Have you never properly looked round some old churches? Those are places where people are buried. It's sad enough when they're sold off, but advocating selling them off just because you feel they're in the wrong place seems extremely crass.

How sad would you feel if someone took where your relatives were buried and said 'ahh, fuck it, let's deconsecrate it and turn it into a backdrop for Barefoot Bridals'?

Do you have some kind of issue with the C of E?

HairyGrotter Mon 10-Mar-14 21:06:39

I think selling them off is fair enough, many churches and parishes are breaking down more due to information offering the alternative, science, critical thinking, atheism, agnosticism etc. The wedding idea is a bit daft, but turning them into homes is nice.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 10-Mar-14 21:10:04

Mmm. I think turning them into homes can be nice - but the pretty ones that are expensive to maintain tend to be pretty and expensive for a reason: they're important. If they end up in private hands, bye bye to lots of people's heritage, to historical research on it, and - unless you put in unimaginably restrictive building regs - you'd permanently destroy that.

If they've got to sell them off, I wish they could sell of the ugly modern ones that don't have a churchyard attached. That's not disrespecting anyone's memories or ruining history.

Polyethyl Mon 10-Mar-14 21:11:42

A lot of quaint churches are very expensive to maintain.
Also the church does shut churches which don't have sustainable congregations.
But it is very crass to think that they can be easily sold.

Have you considered all the burials? What would you do with all those corpses?
What about listed building status/conservation areas?
How would you get planning consent for the change of use?
Who would pay to maintain and repair these complex and expensive buildings? All those tall roofs, buttresses, clocktowers and steeples - think of the cost of scaffoling at that height for even the simplest of repairs.
What about the archaeology. Some churches have been in continuous use for hundreds of years, and since our very earliest churches were built on ancient pagan sites of worship some churches are sitting on thousands of years of archaeology. Who would pay for that to be assessed?

It's a bit much for a quaint wedding venue firm to take on and make profit from!

msrisotto Mon 10-Mar-14 21:18:03

This is a really odd. Thread! Are you advocating the forced sale of churches? Some do get sold off if the church doesn't want them or can't keep them for whatever reason. And what do you have against them? They make lots of people happy! We aren't in dire need of wedding venues!
I'm atheist btw.

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