In Memory of All Saints’ Intake

(or a cautionary tale concerning your church)

Vennligst klikk her for norsk!

I find it somewhat perturbing these icons are no longer visible in this church.

I am so glad that I found this photograph. Let me just tell you something about it. You will see (perhaps poorly in the photo) that to the left of the church altar there is holder for a little candle. Actually, it is more than that. It is the holder for the reserved sacrament, the communion host. Where you see this, it will always be lit, meaning that Our Lord is always there.

On the evening of Friday 15th June 1990 – a date I shall never forget – I sat at the front of this church with the vicar, who was left to pick the pieces up in my life after my mother had just told me that she had only six months to live. I sat in front of those icons you can see here, the cross, and the lit candle until about midnight.

Why am I telling you this? Well. This church, All Saints’ Intake, was the very last church I was organist in when I lived in England. It selflessly sacrificed much by helping me out of unemployment, and back into education in 1988, when I became a student at the former Polytechnic of Huddersfield. And of course, in the middle of my studies came this bombshell, and it was there I returned for a shoulder to cry on.

Last Friday I discovered that this same church, All Saints’ Intake, closed a few years ago. My church is no longer there. The building is very much there, but has been taken over by a free church. According to Doncaster Library it is Pentecostal, but whatever, the church of which *I was a part… is dead.

Of course I am thankful in the least, that the building is being used for christian worship (even though it is of a kind not my ‘personal cup of tea’), but I have to admit that it is difficult to look at the church today on, and see how it has changed. Not least, the symbolical holder of the host, with its candle extinguished. I assume this has no meaning in the new pentecostal contexts.

And the moral of the story? Do not think that your particular church is immortal. It can die. And a time, sadly, is coming when we who are in your church, will not have the security of the State to cover us when things go wrong or when we need financial support. The idea that you one day might look at a picture of YOUR church, and find that it is no longer your church…. and might not even be used as a church (which I will admit, thank God for small mercies mine still is), that idea is not as remote as you might like to think.

After I had written the above post, I also found this photograph below, explaining the meaning of the icons that are no longer visible if you enter the building today.

The meaning of the icons that used to be visible behind the altar on the Eastern Wall of the former All Saints’ Intake.

2 kommentarer om “In Memory of All Saints’ Intake

  1. We even as a Pentecostal church in name do also know the meaning and understanding our leaders have also a background in Orthodox Christianity and the Pentecostal movement, we are church that believes in the very presence of God and the moving of the Holy Spirit a church of sign and wonders miracles and healings.
    The power of the sacraments and the Lord table at which we celebrated weekly before lockdown.
    The church is moving forward and beginning to grow, reaching out and touch the neighbourhood with the presence of the living Christ, there are people who are turn to Christ and asking Him into their lives and surrendering their lives to Him the King of king’s and the Lord of lord’s
    The great commission of Go out into all the world and preach the Good news.
    For church’s to stay open they have to have a living presence of the living Christ not just songs with a beat or not, Christ has to be a reality in a person’s life as it is about a relationship with the Lord Jesus.
    As for the Icon’s the Church of England took them to place elsewhere,
    And as for the building we did not take it over but rescued it from being lost from being able to continue the usefulness of the building to do the work of building the Kingdom of God in Doncaster.

    • I am very happy that your church came along. My article was – and is – directed at people here in Norway. Because like you say, for churches to stay open Jesus must be a reality. I can’t argue with that! Sadly, I see many churches here going the same way as mine in England apparently did.

      Nevertheless, what is now the former All Saints’ Intake is a part of my own life’s story. I no longer live in your country, and suddenly to find out that it had ceased to exist (not the building of course, but the church that had the building) was something of a shock to the system. And just as were I to see the semidetatched house I grew up in, now my parents have left this world, to see where my home used to be but now is not… leaves me with a sense of sadness.

      Nevertheless, it is a reminder of the temporal nature of things. In this life we have no permanent city, but seek one to come. I congratulate you on your building.

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