"Holy Wells ....."
Churches in different places take on different characteristics, partly because of where they are, partly because of their history, and partly because of who is attracted to the way each church seeks to live out its relationship with God.
So what sort of churches are those of the Fellside Team? What is it that makes them the special places that they are? They are hallowed places of prayer and worship, mostly ancient, with Goosnargh going back before 1086 when the Domesday Book recorded a ‘priest in Gosenagh’. They are cherished parts of our communities, with families who can trace their history in the community and church for hundreds of years – clergy are just fly-by-nights however long we stay! You can tell how cherished they are by how well they and their churchyards are cared for.
For my part, I think of them as holy wells where people come to do business with God. The congregation and PCC may have responsibility for looking after them but they belong to the community, a focal point for the spiritual dimension of it. Some come to do business with God daily, some each week, some regularly but less often, some for high days and holy days, some for life’s major events, and some only when they know no-one else will be there – just them and God.
If that is a reasonable way of thinking about our churches, then a follow-on thought is about how we might encourage people as they seek to do business with God. One of the simplest things that we do is to keep our churches open so folk can always pop in and take those quiet moments in prayer and contemplation when that is what they need.
Exploring that spiritual dimension of life is vital if we are to be fully human, each of us with a unique spark of the divine within. Recently I’ve been encouraged to think about new ways in which we can do that – new ways we can explore our spirituality, and in doing so encounter God more deeply and richly. If you are interested, look out for publicity about the Spirituality events we will be holding from time to time.
Rev’d Stephen Cooper