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Can anyone go into a church and light a candle?

(23 Posts)
arfur Mon 23-Apr-12 23:44:17

Hi I am not religious altho I do believe in god but I just wondered if anyone can just walk into a church at anytime and light a candle for a loved one? Hope I dont sound daft blush only my dad died almost a year ago and due to cemetary ridiculousness (which I wont bore you with) I have no where to go at all to remember him so I was thinking about going to the church near his old house and asking if I could light a candle for him. Hoping a church expert will be able to enlighten me as to whether this is a pipe dream or not. Thanks

JoyceDivision Mon 23-Apr-12 23:48:05

Yes, absolutely! (Just check the church doors are unlocked! Sadly, the days of churchs being open all the time are long gone...)

arfur Mon 23-Apr-12 23:50:49

Oh thank you - should i ring them to check do you think? My only alternative is to go to the chapel at the hospice where he died but Im not sure I can face going back in there sad

Northey Mon 23-Apr-12 23:53:29

You certainly wouldn't need to from a permission point of view, but if you were making a long journey specially I don't think it would be weird to phone and explain and check if/when the church is uocked outside normal service times.

ThereGoesTheYear Mon 23-Apr-12 23:54:02

I'm sorry to hear about your dad.
You can just go in and light a candle and have a sit and think/pray - it's not daft at all and that's what they're for (and loads of other things too). Some churches are locked when not being used for services. They'll be open a bit before/after services so you can be sure to get in then.
There'll be a little box by the candles or a slot in a nearby wall for a donation for the candle (20p or something). Light your candle, kneel/sit nearby for a bit nearby or just head out if you prefer.
I hope the anniversary goes ok.

Northey Mon 23-Apr-12 23:56:12

Oh - make sure you have some loose change to put in the candle payment box.

Not that anyone would say a word if you didnt have any money to put in. I just didn't want you to be thrown and upset about not having any money, if you hadn't realised.

JoyceDivision Mon 23-Apr-12 23:56:38

I'm sure if you ring just to ask when the church is open.. you don't have to explain why, but obviously if you want to chat the priest, if he (or she, depending on denomination) should be a friendly ear for you... Usuallym, they are open a while before and after masses or services, midweek church services do tend to be very quiet...

Depending on where you live, if you have minsters / catherdral nearby, some have 'listeners' who volunteer there too, they have them I think at Durham where people wear either badges or bibs to identify themselves and are just there as a friendly ear, a shoulder to cry on..

I'm really sorry about your dad, hope you gain a little bit of comfort however you choose to remember him smile

FirstUpBestDressed Mon 23-Apr-12 23:58:18

i am going to church tomorrow morning and would happily light a candle and say a prayer for you and you dad.

arfur Tue 24-Apr-12 00:01:20

Thanks everyone, you are very kind, am going to slope off for a little cry now smile

Northey Tue 24-Apr-12 00:03:21

I hope you feel better for it, arfur, and good luck with your candle expedition.

JoyceDivision Tue 24-Apr-12 00:07:37

I'll be at church on sunday, shall I light one for you and your dad too? I'm sure you dad would be rather pleased with lots of random candles being lit on his behalf! (He did like churches, didn't he? smile )

weegiemum Tue 24-Apr-12 00:27:54

It's fine, as long as you are aware that not all churches have candles. For example, I live in Scotland where you would have them in RC churches, some Episcopalian (Anglican) but by no means all, not in the Church of Scitland or Free Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) and our Baptist church doesnt either and I'd be surprised if any did.

Could you check the church website? Our church, as I said Baptist, doesn't do candles but once a week has an afternoon and evening when the church is open for prayer when you can either go in and pray alone or if you would like someone to pray with you or for you, there are people trained in this who will spend time with you talking (even if you just want to tell someone one happy memory about your dear Dad) and praying or just leave you alone if ghats what you want.

Might be worth checking denomination and most churches have a website to tell you when the church us open so you dint have to phone if you don't feel up to it, or in the case of our church you can even phone and make an appointment on Tuesdays so there is someone to welcome you and talk to you when you arrive if that would make you more comfortable (though many people just pitch up on the day, from the congregation and not!)

chipmonkey Tue 24-Apr-12 13:48:08

arfur, I don't often go to church but I have a an angel tea-light holder on my windowsill which I often light for dd. Or you could light a tea-light by a photo of your Dad? Hope the anniversary goes as well as it can.

arfur Tue 24-Apr-12 21:35:30

Thanks chipmonkey I might do that as my dad wasn't really religious either. It's hard to decide what I want to do as there's nowhere symbolic to go to remember them (his wife died two days before him). I think might put their ashes next to their photo and light a candle of my own for them. Thanks so much for all your kind posts everyone - the kindness of strangers is truly touching. I dreamt about my dad last night he just walked into his old lounge and smiled at me, I said dad it's do good to see you, he laughed and then I woke up smile

3littlefrogs Tue 24-Apr-12 21:44:35


I am so sorry for your loss. My local church is just along the road from me and I call in frequently on my way home from work. I always light a candle for those who have died - for friends, relatives, and for my patients who pass away. It makes me feel that I have done one last small thing for them.

If you are not comfortable with going into church, maybe you could create a small place in your home to remember your parents?

Friends of mine who lost their child did this. They didn't know where they would be living in the future, so they made a small place in a corner of their home where they keep his ashes, a photograph and flowers, and a candle stick so they could light a candle and have a quiet moment whenever they want.

chipmonkey Tue 24-Apr-12 22:49:57

Sounds like your Dad paid you a visit,

Acepuppets Mon 30-Apr-12 22:28:54

Of course you can - it is sometimes nicer going into a quiet church than one full of a congregation.

Nessar Thu 16-Mar-17 01:26:46

This might sound quite silly, I'm not overly religious. Apart from when st.Gerard majella novena comes around and praying to st. Gerard majella. I haven't gone to church to light a candle since I was a child with my father. I'm 27 and have had and still having a very rough year. I am thinking of going to church to light a candle. Does this help? I suppose what I'm trying to say does it help the mind and soul to light a candle and say a prayer? Any input would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Tiggles Sat 18-Mar-17 19:49:34

@Nessar you may do better to start a new thread, but a lot of people find it helpful to light candles in church. It gives an action to focus on, as well as the light of the flame reminding us that the light will always overcome the darkness, however small that light may be.

amoreamore28 Sat 29-Apr-17 09:15:47

Hi Arfur. Really sorry to hear about your Dad. I empathise with you. The reason I have found you is that I, too, wanted to know whether I could go into a Church to light a candle for my Mum so I asked the question on the Internet and found you. It is a year tomorrow since I lost her and I too have nowhere to go. Someone else in the family took Mum's Ashes so there is no particular place of memory for me to go to to have a quiet reflection of her life. I was very close to her. Obviously she is in my heart. I have looked at all your lovely replies which have given me ideas now of what to do so thank you to all your contributors. I hope you managed to achieve what you wanted to do.

TakeThatFuckingDressOffNow Tue 16-May-17 08:23:36

Sorry to hear about our dad. You are ALWAYS welcome in Church!!!!! Just to check it's open etc. Priests / helpers are always happy to have people pop in.

Westray Thu 25-May-17 07:30:14

If you can find one open, and if it's a Catholic church or COE perhaps.

Churches are usually closed around here- open only for weddings/funerals and an hour on Sunday.

I can't imagine any of the protestant/presbyterian churches around here would welcome candle lighting at all.

billythelurcher Mon 05-Jun-17 17:31:23


I do this for my dad. He wasn't very religious but on my way to work I sometimes just pop in to the church in the town centre and light a candle and sit and have a little think.

I feel it helps me, just nice calm time to think of good memories.

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