Magazine – December 2019

My Dear People

A churchwarden writes from Iberia: “Chris and I went to the service at our village church this morning. It was a case of standing room only, and with 300 seats, that’s a lot of people! It made me wonder what we are doing wrong and I am sorry to have to disagree with the experts, but if the Church at Monchique is anything to go by, I don’t think we are wrong at all. The service was a sung mass almost identical to ours. The priests vestments were the same. There were several small children sitting on the alter steps and they were well behaved and took part in all the service. Not a guitar or drum kit or messy Church to be seen! In all, it was just a normal ser v i ce l i ke our s , minus teas afterwards or welcomers to greet us, yet so many people attending. I can’t help thinking that no amount of gimmicks will cure our ills as it is no longer part of general English culture to attend Church.”

Quite so. It is interesting to note that in immigrant-predominated areas of England – and the immigrants DO go to church – more English people go too, as it is seen as socially acceptable.
This is not an excuse for us to be complacent. There are always things we can improve. But not change: if what we do is in accordance with the Gospel and the traditions of the Church.

What desperately needs changing – and has always been part of the Christian calling to change – is the society in which we live.

The main and most necessary way of changing our society for the better is by openly living a Christian life, something which is counter-cultural.

Part of which means coming to Church over Christmas – to Mass most importantly, but also to another service if you can – never-mind what else your family or friends have planned.

And inviting all your family and friends to join you at Church: for Christ is after all the reason we have Christmas!

Yours in Christ,

Fr John

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