DEANO God save us from prophets of ‘fun’! email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, fresh from preaching the Gospel of St Jeremy Corbyn, came up with another cracker last week.
Speaking via video link, he told the National Cathedrals Conference in Manchester: “The first thing I want is for people not to be bored. I want them to have fun. Cathedrals are about God.
“If you can’t have fun in a cathedral, you really don’t know what fun is.”
Let’s put aside the idea of the Archbishop of Canterbury – the incumbent in a post stretching back to St Augustine – speaking via “video link” like the Emperor in Star Wars.
One word in His Grace’s blathering caught my eye. “Fun”. When I hear the word “fun” I reach for the pointed things.
Any attempt to impose “fun” should be greeted with the loudest and rudest of raspberries.
People who say “let’s have fun” wear bow ties, put on fancy dress and get over- excited on Red Nose Day. They are, in short, the least funny people in our communities.
“Fun” in church should be eyed with the same suspicion as an erection at the swimming baths.
Also last week, a Church of England judge warned that ecclesiastical buildings will soon become “supermarkets and dance studios” if traditionalists continued to block revamps.
Chancellor June Rodgers said: “If people disagree with sensible and necessary re- ordering of an existing church building to keep it in use, then they should think what redundant churches have been turned into – a supermarket, climbing walls, dance studios, or demolished.”
Dear people, I would rather a church become a wacky warehouse than a wacky warehouse that pretends to be a church.
I’m not a very religious person but that withered scrap of my soul that remains after 20 years working for Sunday Sport enjoys and appreciates the quiet serenity of a church.
It’s a place for reflection and meditation for, if that is your thing, getting closer to your God.
That does not involve bells and whistles, “interactive displays” or – horror of horrors – “activities”.
The modernisers have had their hands on the Church of England for a couple of generations now.
They have ripped out pews, installed video monitors, rewritten the Holy Bible and thrown out the classic hymns.
And over that same time, congregations have collapsed.
The baby has been well and truly thrown out with the font water.
Turning churches into Alton Towers will not reverse its decline.