A Thought: Churches of England

I worry that many churches in England today are increasingly buildings of only traditional and/or architectural significance, rather than people of growing spiritual and evangelical significance.


  1. I know what you mean but I don’t think it is universally true. I was at a service at All Saints Peckham recently where the opposite seemed to be true. The paint was flaking, the pews unvarnished, the church hall had definitely seen better days but it was one of the most spirit filled, friendliest services I had been to for a long time, a real celebration! Our own church in Reigate is lovely and a real community but it costs a fortune to maintain. I’m hoping that one day the church will leave the building and just use the Church hall instead.

  2. I have to agree with you. When I was in Loughborough I walked down to the closest church to where I was staying and went inside to join in on the worship services. I found it bland, and it seemed as if everyone there were just going through the rubrics, and not really participating in the fullness of the services. I found the priest the same way, the homily was hardly thought out, and seemed like it was the nth time delivering the same homily, year after year. I hoped/hope it wasn’t/isn’t typical of what services are like in England.

    Is this what you are talking about? How common is what I experienced?

    1. I have had the same experiences, yes. The post came after a series of cumulative prompts – visiting churches for christenings, or other events, where the building seemed to be venerated as much if not more than God, or where the Church council is populated by non-Christians as a badge of local influence, or to ensure the ‘proper traditions’ of a local church are maintained.

      The tipping point for me came last Friday when I was in London for a job interview and had some time beforehand enabling me to visit St Paul’s Cathedral for the first time since I was a child – a small chapel is made available for prayer, to the side of the ticket barriers for paying (tourist) visitors. Tourists come into the side chapel giving very strange looks to anyone there for faith reasons. I worried that the Cathedral had become a tourist attraction first, and a place of worship second. Have the beautiful buildings the Church has to maintain become a millstone around our neck, requiring the compromising practicalities of revenue streams to maintain fabric instead of ministry and mission? It’s perhaps a naïve point of view but I would prefer simpler buildings, freely available to the public and offering ministry rather than souvenirs.

      1. I had the same thoughts/feelings when I was there, in fact, I didn’t try to enter St. Paul’s, I wasn’t looking for a tourist attraction.

        But, to be honest, it’s the same here in the states. The National Cathedral in DC and the Old North Church in Boston seem to have more tourists than worshipers. Honestly, I don’t have a large problem with these, as they have outgrown their origins as a church (same with the Vatican and Haggia Sohohia). What bothers me is when the same attitude permeates to the smaller churches.

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