UK – House of Lords debate on value of parish churches

UK – House of Lords debate on value of parish churches

On June 12th, a Motion to take note was moved by Lord Cormack. The ensuing discussion concerned, among other things, the need to strike a “balance between the demands of English nature and the needs of the English heritage”, especially regarding bats, and the benefits of extended use. Some fragments:

Lord Redesdale:

they are living buildings and have to move forward to meet certain needs. If we have to change the layout of churches to move with the times and ensure that people use these buildings, that is the best way of preserving parish churches. Although there is a problem with failing congregations, churches are fundamental to the way in which people view the countryside—and not only the countryside but city churches as well. They have a future and will bring congregations together. However, we should not forget that they are living buildings and that, used properly, they can bring a community together.

Lord Mawson:

Some of our churches have still not responded to 1945. The problem is that generally they have turned their backs on business and enterprise and do not understand it. (…) Where there is some entrepreneurial flair within the church, it needs to be supported by a permissive attitude that sees the buildings as assets to be used and within which innovation and enterprise are encouraged alongside reflection, prayer and contemplation.  Our beautiful ancient monasteries knew a great deal about this approach (…)

Read the full transcript here, or a longer report on the debate here.



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