Church, Inc

Britain is seemingly filled with churches and cathedrals. Every town, village and hamlet has one. At least one. Most of them are hundreds of years old. Quite a number of them are many hundreds of years old. I’ve visited lots of churches. Out of historical interest, never spiritual need. I’m not the odd one out though. Christianity has largely fallen by the wayside in the UK and lost relevance to society in general. Attendance figures were low in the early 80s. They are half that now. They’ll halve again before too long. The average age of the UK church goer, on the other hand, is close to doubling. From mid thirties in 1980 to early fifties today.

More than two thirds of the UK population have no connection to the church at all. I’m pretty sure that without the revenue brought in by weddings, baptisms and funerals, the church as an institution would be in even greater trouble. I’m not sorry that the church is dying on its feet in the UK. Whilst not an atheist, I have no time for any organisation based on hocus pocus. At the same time, I’m not glad the church is in such dire trouble. Many people need to believe in something and churches are traditionally good at bonding communities.

So what happens to a society when religion enters terminal decline? Well, there’s less need for so many churches. The Church of England has had to close down hundreds of them. Getting on for two thousand since the end of the war. Some are demolished. Some are turned into residential apartments. I know of one which is a nightclub. Predictably, the supermarkets got in on the act too. The teachings of Jesus and capitalism are not compatible, in my opinion. It’s one or the other. And the latter is clearly winning. The money changers are in the temple.

IMAG0583_1

Our Father who art in Tescos,
hallowed be thy wholegrain.
Thy dairy come.
Thy bakery be done
on checkout as it is in aisle seven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our double dipping,
as we forgive those who double dip against us,
and lead us not into Sainsburys,
but deliver us from Asda.
For thine is the warehousing,
and the logistics, and the retail,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

11 thoughts on “Church, Inc

  1. A well known, church to nightclub, in NYC was the Limelight. Beautiful architecture inside and out. I don’t know if it was easier or more difficult to say a prayer when I visited moons ago 🙂

    Like

    1. Whilst not visible from my photo, the stained glass windows are all fantastic. If only Tescos could have co-ordinated the store around the windows. Bakery where Jesus is breaking bread, booze where the water is being turned into wine, fish where the good man is feeding the five thousand…

      Like

    1. Ironically, the Catholic churches in the UK are positively thriving. Increased immigration from Latin America has helped, but it’s mostly down to the huge influx of Poles that have filled the pews.

      Like

  2. What an amazingly great post! I especially loved the “prayer” at the end. But deliver us from Asda, ROFL.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where the church has finally been forced to sell off churches to pay the victims of the priest child sexual abuse scandals.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s