Networks of rural churches open for private prayer

Not exactly an ecclesiantics question; but i seem to recall stumbling across a couple of networks/websites with lists of mostly rural churches in the UK that were kept open for prayer by volunteers - at least one of which seemed to be mostly churches off the beaten track.

Does that ring a bell with anyone at all?

Comments

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    This is happening to a lot of rural churches now. Some are being classified as Festival churches which hold about five services a year at the major festivals. And others are being made redundant but still have permission to hold occasional services in them.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    This is happening to a lot of rural churches now.

    Understood - this was specifically about finding out about the networks of the kinds I recall.
  • Are you looking for the Small Pilgrim places? I only know about it as I know of a local church that used to be on that list.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Are you looking for the Small Pilgrim places? I only know about it as I know of a local church that used to be on that list.

    Yes thanks, that was definitely one of them - though I do recall another one also.
  • ChoristerChorister Shipmate
    There is a Churches Conservation Trust, which aims to keep churches open - was that the one you were thinking of?
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    edited May 26
    Chorister wrote: »
    There is a Churches Conservation Trust, which aims to keep churches open - was that the one you were thinking of?

    I think the one I was thinking of was more volunteer focused, and less 'organised' from top down - and more focused on open access, though that's also a useful resource, for which I thank you :)
  • The other organisation I found was the British Pilgrimage Trust, but that seems to be more about encouraging pilgrimage routes.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Around where I live there is a rough rule-of-thumb which seems to work.

    Churches that advertise anything as "worship" or "praise" and/or that seem to have a general shortage of communion services will be locked outside service times. Churches that don't you have a better than 50-50 chance they'll be open.

    To put it another way, the higher up the candle, the more likely to be open.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Around where I live there is a rough rule-of-thumb which seems to work.

    I'm more interested in finding the networks that organise on this basis than open churches - of which there are plenty available locally.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Around where I live there is a rough rule-of-thumb which seems to work.

    Churches that advertise anything as "worship" or "praise" and/or that seem to have a general shortage of communion services will be locked outside service times. Churches that don't you have a better than 50-50 chance they'll be open.

    To put it another way, the higher up the candle, the more likely to be open.

    Pretty much on the basis of what I would call "spirit of place", the absence of which is a major cause of my long ago desertion of the low end of the candle
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Two of my three rural churches are open, one all the time, and one by day. Being CofS we are not very high up the candle! But there is still a sprit of place, which I witnessed again this week when I met with a wedding couple (from London - so many of my weddings are tourists). They had been planning a marriage in a local museum (don't ask - there is an old chapel there) but on entering the light, airy building, with its lovely art work by local people, she turned to him and said "We should be married here."


    I have only recently taken over ministering to the third congregation and they are quite a long way from seeing that there is nothing in the building that is more valuable than having t open for people to pray or meditate. Give it time...
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    I find that older Quaker meeting houses often have that 'spirit of place' too. I definitely don't think it is limited to churches higher up the candle, though I do think there needs to be a bit of roughness around the edges or a feeling of being 'handmade' if that makes sense. Whatever is the opposite of modern sleek evangelicalism - I think older Nonconformist churches tend to have it more, certainly in Wales and Cornwall.
  • I would agree with that.

    Is it to do with the patina of age, though?

    Or can there be the genius locii' or a sense of the prayerful numinous in modern worship spaces too?

    I find it hard to contemplate that our US friends for instance might only be able to find that when visiting an 18th century Spanish mission building in Arizona or a white clapboard church in New England.

    Some contemporary Catholic buildings seem to have it, whilst others seem to miss it by miles.
  • I've found the "spirit of place" in more modern buildings too. Certainly my university chapel has it, as does the church built while I was growing up. I wonder, though, whether "spirit of place" can be imbued by knowledge as much as sense. The church built in the parish where I was grew up is a beautiful building inside, but I think its spirit of place for me was magnified by the knowledge of the prayerful effort that had gone into building it. When there have been sleepless nights, years of hopes and disappointments, delays and tasks completed with Herculean effort, the "spirit of place" is there before the paint has dried (I know this because we had choir practice the night before the dedication while they were still finishing the paintwork and fitting the carpet around the font).
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    The building which so affected the bride-to-be this week is from the 1950s, updated (pews removed) about 12 years ago. The walls a rea cheerful yellow, so no patina of age. Most of the windows are textured plain glass, though at the front there is some stained. But there is a spirit of place. I still think it is to do with the faith and love of the people.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Yes, I have experienced it in more modern buildings too, I think it just needs to really carry a sense of being a place of worship/love/etc.
  • Cathscats wrote: »
    But there is a spirit of place. I still think it is to do with the faith and love of the people.

    This.

    100%
    :smile:

  • But what @Pomona said, too.
    :wink:
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    So I shudder to think that, conversely, some churches have no spirit of love and faith.
  • PomonaPomona Shipmate
    Yes....although it can often be down to the fact that a building is a congregation's temporary home, or in other ways is very much just a building to that particular congregation. I think some church buildings (and other places) have a spirit of place, but it doesn't necessarily follow that other churches are somehow bad - though of course they can be.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    The Friends of Friendless Churches comes to mind. Most of the churches in their care are kept open or the keyholder is listed in the Details for Visitors booklet sent to all subscribers.
  • Thanks to a questionnaire for our DS I can now confirm the suspicions of my earlier post.

    Highest up the candle (6 altar candles, votive candles, statue of BVM, etc, etc - church never locked. And daily services, not just a Mass but also morning and evening prayer.

    Higher-than-average to MotR - church open daily, the norm is at least 9am to 5pm, and most have at least MP or EP twice a week or more.

    Lowish - church open on Sunday, also on Saturday while cleaning and flower arranging is going on, otherwise locked. No midweek services other than Ash Wednesday and Holy Week.

    "revitalised" ex-Plant church (praise band, etc) - only open for services. Midweek "worship" house based.
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