It's Yours

I do love the Church of England.  Of course it has many faults, failings and frustrations, but so does every organisation.  It's not just the organisation, it's the human beings that are the problem.  So the Church is often hugely exasperating and wonderfully quirky, sometimes both at the same time.

But one of the many reasons why I'm so fond of the C of E is that it's based on the parish.  In fact, the whole country is divided up into parishes.  So wherever you live, town or country, you live in a parish.  You are a parishioner, and every parish is served by a parish church; so wherever you are, whoever you are, like it or not, you have a parish church.  It's yours.

That doesn't mean that you're obliged to go to Sunday services.  (Though you should be always welcome - it is yours after all.)  But it does mean that you have the right to be married in your parish church, to have your children christened in your parish church, to have your funeral in your parish church.  And if there's still room, to be buried in your parish churchyard.

It means that the parish church is for everyone living in the parish - people with a clear and strong Christian faith, people with a 'barely keeping its head above water' faith, people who aren't sure they want any sort of faith, people who are sure they don't intend to have any faith at all.  It's still your church.

The church isn't a private club.  It doesn't have an exclusive membership list; and the church building isn't a private club-house.  So wherever you are, there's a parish church - and it's there for you.

So this summer, whether you're on holiday in Bognor Regis, working away from home in London, visiting friends in Yorkshire or right here in Nocton - there is a parish church.  And if you turn up on a Sunday you'll be welcome.

With love,
Rev'd Lorna