(or a cautionary tale concerning your church)
Vennligst klikk her for norsk!
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 https://www.facebook.com/harvestfieldschurchdoncaster/, 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.