Churches should be community centres not closed to make way for homes

The suggestion that St Mary Magdalen Church at Guyhirn and the Methodist Church at Wisbech St Mary be converted into homes has a sad ring about it.

These are comparatively modern buildings but a number of historic churches such as Walpole St Andrew and that at Parson Drove and Murrow suffered the same fate.

In addition to services, ancient churches hold community meetings and were used for storage of commodities.

In time of bountiful harvests grain was stored in them.

They were thriving centres of rural communities. People gathered at churches to talk and bells rang to announce great national events long before newspapers came into being.

Churches were built to be more than places of worship and were centres where people communicated.

The great churches of marsh and fen were highly practical as well as spiritual.

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Some churches in our age are used for parishioners to meet for a cup of tea and a chat.

Some have libraries, a cafe and a parish office. People visit them and hold knitting sessions.

Wimblington Church is being used similarly and at St Mary’s, March, fully restored after arson, the old order it seems is being established reflecting the practical and social use of churches centuries ago. It is good.

In an age emphasising the Word in an increasingly troubling and worrying light, when voices preach unbelief founded on things merely seen and by touch, are we witnessing a new awakening of the Church in our midst with its truth and purpose revealed in the Word that has endured the centuries?

Total closure is a negative thing

Trevor Bevis

St Peter’s Road, March

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