This article from The Guardian looks at the resources and services provided by the Anglican church in Great Britain – and especially at the potential resource that historical churches offer as facilities for various projects:
Forget religion for a moment, and concentrate on the buildings. Here, surely, is where to reconnect the sinews of local Britain, the political flavour of the month. The fascination with church ritual suggests a craving not for “faith” but for a bonding communal experience. The church is also usually the only thing of beauty for miles around, an exhibition of the arts of architecture, carving, woodwork, painting, embroidery and music, a national gallery of vernacular art, locally on display.
Many churches are at last being put to new uses, more akin to their pre-Reformation status. They are reviving as concert halls and theatres, meeting places, cafeterias, schoolrooms and even markets. I recall Tamworth church in Staffordshire on market day, with stalls and tea urns spilling over into the nave, or Blickling church in Norfolk, with each local institution given an aisle bay in which to advertise its wares. Ever since the church in Leicestershire’s Sheepy Magna opened its post office in 2004, others have followed suit, joined by village shops, secondhand booksellers and even, in Toxteth, a bingo hall and launderette.
Read the full article here.