Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting Rid of the Pews?

I am a big fan of the Archers a BBC radio soap opera about 'country folk'. Actually, it is the longest running drama of its type in the world. I have listened to it since I was a teenager. It was sad not to be able to hear it when I first came here, but thanks to the internet and the BBC, I have for some time been able to listen to it online.

It is set in Ambridge, a fictional village in middle England, with a pub, a village green, and a Church. The programme looks at modern life through the villagers' eyes. Ambridge has a Vicar and, to the credit of the programme writers, they include him in a serious way in the various programme plots.

Alan, the Vicar, has decided that it is wrong for St Stephens, a medieval Church building, to be empty six days a week, and wants to make it more of a community centre in use 7 days a week. To do this means, amongst other things, getting rid of the old pews. Inevitably, on the one hand, there are those who think that this is sacrilege and, on the other, those who think it is what Christianity is all about. Those most opposed to getting rid of the pews are those who don't come to Church!

I have just listened to last night's episode, which had as its main feature a discussion about the issue at the Church Council. It really is very good in the way it presents all the arguments and feelings about the issue. If you are interested you can listen for the next few days at the following link. It is the episode for Tuesday, October 9, 2007.

What I found surprising was how I found myself siding in the discussion, not with those who wanted to get rid of the pews, but with those who wanted to keep them! I wonder what you think?

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