Monday, 3 October 2011

What About The Rest of the Week

It is a known fact that God only works on Sundays. This is the reason why most churches only open on Sundays and why most attendees to those places of worship only do their religion on a Sunday.

It is also a known fact that a life of faith only really needs an hour a week as a booster, and that for the other days of the week, worshipping folk need not concern themselves with the God of Sundays. To best work around this, churches are closed from noon on Sundays until 7.48am on the following Sunday - time enough for the God of Sundays to be looked at, prodded and poked, sung about, and prayed to. This is also the reason why the sallow-eyed Dog-Collar folk only come out on one day of the week, in line with a carefully prepared rota to lead the prodding and the poking of the God of Sundays. 

That today is Monday need not worry you. The God of Sundays is on his day off, playing golf and attending to a little decorating. In any case, we are unlikely to visit the church, so that its doors are closed is of little consequence. Why would you open a church on a Monday anyway? What has the week-day life of those who worship the God of Sundays have to do with anything?

Parody or not, this is how it is in many places I think. Some of you will find this harsh or uncharitable, but I think in the end you will accept that I am right! In my own edifice, through no fault of anyone, and with a care to protect the goods and chattels of the parish and spare the organisation needless heating bills, it has fallen into a habit of closure or a habit of using 'secular' rooms instead of the church itself. I estimate that the church here is open no more than three hours a week - which is quite a lot more than most. It is an unfortunate symbol of the mindset of church life, that it is open for you on Sundays, but closed when you are not being religious. 

We have two issues, that can both help the other. If we are Christians all week, why don't we pop into the church and visit it on other days of the week, be it the one we normally attend or the one near where we work. There might not be a service on, but in most cases God can be found in the perfect beauty of the silence in a still church. The other issue is in the opening of our church buildings. Yes, it costs money to heat and light, and you may even need people to be there to look after the place when scallywags come knocking - but I firmly believe that a church has a duty to be open for as many hours of the days as it can possibly manage. Those who value our sacred spaces on weekdays may even help towards the cost of keeping them open, if we but asked them. Also, an open church is a church that takes people seriously on days other than Sundays - acknowledging their need for sustenance in the course of a working week. 

Push hard enough, and you may even find an ordained person in there sometimes, when they are not on the Rota!


  1. I have only one thing to say (for once).
    St Mary's.

  2. Quite! A rare example of a place that pays a high price for the great benefits of being open to the world at large every day!

  3. I attended a safeguarding session a while back and the person running it on behalf of ecclesiastical encouraged open churches - said that in many places they were safer open as thieves had no idea who might come in. Ours is open all day everyday unattended - though there is little nickable in there!

  4. We're very lucky too in that our church is open all day, every day. We do have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 3 days as week but even in the holiday period when this is suspended the church is still open for people to pop in and pray at any time.
    Long may it last.

  5. 4 out of our five churches are open daily. The one that isn't has a notice advising visitors where to go to collect the kesys if needed.

    All are in villages, some quite remote from nearest houses. So we take a risk, but consider that the Sacred space should be available to visitors daily, not weekly.

    We also utilise our churches for meetings of a 'mother and toddlers' group, for recitals and choral concerts and even meetings of the PCC. (We don't have a church hall).

    We have mid-week services and some school assemblies also take place in church.

    Still, the churches are under used, we are looking to hold coffee mornings in one church weekly and seeking ways of extending their use by the community. But of course, there is all the admin needed to get additional uses approved, sometimes even a faculty or PCC resolution.

    I use our churches and others as well. I love going into a church wherever I am, even if just for a few minutes of reflection in peace. If I meet others there it's a bonus.

  6. That's what I enjoy about travelling in Europe, the open church to step into for a moment's refreshment, and to peacefully gawk at the beauty!
    You might enjoy this video, "I surrender Sundays."

  7. Thanks to you all for your comments - all of which have buoyed me no end in my quest to open my own church more. I wasn't aware, Alan, of that piece of wisdom from the insurer - very helpful!

    I think my mind is clear!

  8. Churchwarden on the moon4 October 2011 at 12:40

    All power to you. The right thing to do (but lock up anything moveable!)

  9. One thing to my mind that affects the opening of a church other than during services is the physical location of the church. If I remember St Mary's - it is about 20 years ago that we visited the then Rector there - it is situated in the centre of the town surrounded by commerce and business/busyness.

    In Whitton none of the churches are in that position, I suppose the RC church is adjacent to two schools so the faithful can pop in, but all the rest have just bus stops nearby.

    St A's at the other end of the village are considering too how their building can be used during the week, especially once the monstrous carbuncle clinic building is occupied. There is talk of providing refreshments. No one has specified whether this will be spiritual or caffeine based; both are on offer at the monthly Prayer and Meditation group along with a sense of calm, reflection and peace.

    Think it is a good idea that such a lovely building as yours is used and appreciated more than a few hours a week.



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