ON SUN­DAY

DEANO God save us from prophets of ‘fun’! email: si­mon@sun­daysport.co.uk

Sunday Sport - - NEWS -

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.

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