Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Winning Tip for All Vicars

If it true that fortune favours the brave, then I am here to offer some proof positive. 

A little while ago, I wrote a little something about the fact that we had done something very risky here at our church. No - nothing quite so risky as unfettered incense and Palestrina (and let's face it, even God has given up favouring incense - He finds that the Choirs Invisible cough too much and are, oddly, all allergic to the smoke). 

And no, I haven't uttered in a Tongue either. There is risk and then there is downright folly (largely because I'd not know that in my Glossolalia whether my syntax and sentence structure were right, and I couldn't live with the not knowing - is it Le Le Le or Lu Lu Lu, for example). 

No, I am talking measured risk, much like getting up in the morning or turning over the starter motor on a petrol combustion engine that seeks only to set fire to petrol somewhere near your kneecaps.

The thing is, we opened our church doors. To our church. We didn't create a rota of helpful welcomers who may, upon the arrival of a newcomer, scowl around behind them. No, we suggested that the church locals might want to pop in on an ad hoc basis and check that the place was alright - and do that other deeply risky thing and go into a church on a day that doesn't start with an S and rhyme with Monday. Heaven forfend that we might suggest a mid-week booster! However, the church was opened, the valuable stuff (like Sacristans and former Wardens) were locked away for safe-keeping, and it happened. 


You heard it here. People came in. And not just tourists (although there are some those too), but people who wanted to engage with a sacred space and the presence of God that they sought within. 

Of all the things that have changed here since the new Vicar pitched up - it is this that has proven to be the most successful. The Vicar has now booked three weddings purely because the couples in question found the doors open when they were looking around for places that could host their special day. We have also had a funeral here on the same basis for a lovely lady who simply wanted her local church to be open the day her beloved man died - and found it open. She told me that she had never been in before - but when the time came, we were ready and open and accommodating. 

I know that there are some of my brothers and sisters in Christ who have yet to take this risk (and yes, it is a risk). However, I absolutely and categorically believe that it is as much a contributory factor in the growth in numbers here as any other thing. Frankly, if I lose a couple of candle-sticks a year I will still be in spiritual credit and the insurance company are right behind the endeavour too. 

If you have any say in any church, do one thing ...

Open your Doors. 

There will be a dozen excuses and many reasons why it would be too great a risk. However, looking at it the other way - would you risk a seeker passing by because they couldn't come in? Baubles or Disciples - the choice is that simple. 


  1. Four of our five are open daily. The fifth is high on a hill, a long way from habitation. However, there is a notice that the keys can be got nearby and we are happy for people to do so.

    So far, we've had one attempted break in at one open church too a donations box (unsuccessful). We've had two burglaries at night at one particular church - with little of value taken. Probably the Bat's frightened them away.

  2. This makes me happy. Good job, Vicar.

  3. Ladyu Pugh-Foddagh22 August 2012 at 16:48

    Well done. Congratulations. You did the Right Thing! And whose Church is it anyway, the whole community or just those 3 (or 300?) people who happen to have a key?

    And a bit of fresh air in & out stops it smelling musty.....

  4. brill!! always infuritaing to find a church locked... and personally I wouldn't care if the baubles did get nicked - doesn't bring one closer to Christ having some shiny things in the church ;)
    well done Vicar :)

  5. Hi David. Good to see you back. Agree the 'open door' policy is a must. Well done you.

    Since there is no0 other way to comment on your "musical" choice of the day, let me say that it confirms two things absolutely for me.
    1. That I am right not to watch the X factor and
    2. That it is always, always, the ones with the least talent who make the most noise.
    Thanks. (I think)

  6. That sounds like really good news.

  7. Very brave!:) So glad people are coming.

  8. So pleased your bravery worked out....I miss my church, I loved the fact it was there, open, everyday.

  9. Food for thought - thank you



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