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Going to church?


KEV67
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I went to two in Reading today. I went to English Martyrs Roman Catholic church this morning. Not exactly what I was expecting. The congregation was very multi-cultural. There was a lady cantor who led the singing. The young priest was Irish. At least I did not need my reading glasses, because it was all up on monitors. There is a plaque to Hugh Faringdon on the outside. He was the last abbot of Reading Abbey, who was hung, drawn and quartered following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. However, I don't think I will go there again.

 

In the evening I went to St Mary's Castle Street Church. I think this is Church of England low church. The Lord's prayer went 'Which art in heaven', not 'Who art in heaven', or even worse, 'Our Father in heaven'. In the creed it says, 'He (Jesus) descended into hell' rather than 'He died' or whatever they usually say at other churches. The bibles are King James version. The Book of Common Prayer had not been modernised. The sermon was about thirty minutes long about two sentences in Matthew 16, regarding the Saducees and the Pharisees. We had to pick our way through a number of unsingable hymns and psalms. This is what a proper service should be like.

 

I do not like participating in the Eucharist. In evening services, I do not think there usually is one. Even better, at the St Mary's church, they only do the Eucharist the first Sunday of each month. All the other Anglican churches in Reading seem to do the Eucharist every Sunday. Thing is I want to explore more of the local churches. There are a couple more Roman Catholic churches. I have already been to one where they do Latin mass, which I might go to again, but they have masses every day. Then there are two or three Methodist churches of various flavours. Then there are the Baptists and the United Reform churches. I think I will give the Seventh Day Adventists, the Pentecostalists and the Quakers a pass. However there is a local Salvation Army church and an independent church, which does not appear too wacky. Then there is a branch of the Christadelphians, who I think reject the Holy Trinity. I have already met the local branch of Unitarians. You can count them on your fingers, and they rent a room once a month at the local hippy centre. The problem with them is that they don't actually believe anything. They are wary about committing to any belief in case science proves them wrong. There is also a Mormon church in Reading. I do not actually regard them as Christian, but I might poke my head in.

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On 8/1/2022 at 10:57 AM, KEV67 said:

We had to pick our way through a number of unsingable hymns and psalms. This is what a proper service should be like.

 

I had to laugh at this :lol:

I think it's a good idea of yours to try various churches to see what suits you best. One church certainly doesn't suit everyone and I think it's great people worship in different ways.

I don't attend church anymore but as a child my parents took us to a wide variety of churches ranging from Presbyterian to Pentecostal. I also boarded in an Anglican hostel when I left school and we were required to attend services. I found, for me, the reading from the Book of Common Prayer every time was rather repetitious and tended to lose its meaning because of this. I used to love the more happy-clappy upbeat tunes when I was younger but now I prefer the old hymns and a more conservative service. But I do like a good thought provoking sermon. 

 

I recently attended a wedding where the pastor started proselytising on hell and damnation plus informing the couple that they must NEVER divorce. I was horrified. It's that kind of thing puts me off some churches.

 

Way back we had a home group, taken by the Baptist minister, that met each week. It was brilliant. He would just concentrate on a few verses at a time and he would find so much more meaning from them than I'd ever imagined.

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7 hours ago, poppy said:

 

I found, for me, the reading from the Book of Common Prayer every time was rather repetitious and tended to lose its meaning because of this.

 

 

It's one step up from chanting "Imhotep, Imhotep..." but has a similar net effect.

 

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Went to the local Salvation Army church yesterday. Cannot say I really liked it. Bits of it were a bit happy clappy. I could not work out how to sing the hymns because of the brass band. They brought some kids up on stage and asked them some questions which had some pretty obvious approved answers. I would have loved them to get one wrong. The only tricky one was whether church was sometimes boring. When I was a child I would not have known what the approved answer was, but as the adults were helping them by showing thumbs up, they got it right.

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On 8/2/2022 at 6:16 AM, poppy said:

I recently attended a wedding where the pastor started proselytising on hell and damnation plus informing the couple that they must NEVER divorce. I was horrified. It's that kind of thing puts me off some churches.

 

That would disconcert me too. What really worries me is getting signed up for something expensive. I went to one church where the guest preacher was a missionary to Burundi. He sent around a sheet for the congregation to write down their email addresses. I did give them a valid email address, but one I rarely open.

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11 hours ago, KEV67 said:

That would disconcert me too. What really worries me is getting signed up for something expensive. I went to one church where the guest preacher was a missionary to Burundi. He sent around a sheet for the congregation to write down their email addresses. I did give them a valid email address, but one I rarely open.

 

I get very hot under the collar with churches who insist on tithing, especially ones with predominantly poor congregations. We've got one in NZ where the minister swans around in luxury cars and owns multi-million dollar homes whilst insisting his followers, many of whom are beneficiaries and single parent families, give until it hurts. 

There is no mention of tithing in the New Testament.

 

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6 hours ago, poppy said:

 

I get very hot under the collar with churches who insist on tithing, especially ones with predominantly poor congregations. We've got one in NZ where the minister swans around in luxury cars and owns multi-million dollar homes whilst insisting his followers, many of whom are beneficiaries and single parent families, give until it hurts. 

There is no mention of tithing in the New Testament.

 

I often wonder about church economics. In Reading I have seen lots of pubs close down, but not churches. When I used to go in the 80s, I assumed the church's main income was the collection. The majority of the churches I have been to recently have not even taken a collection. I understand the Church of England has a lot of investments, but what about all the other churches: Methodists, Baptists, United Reformed Church, Catholics and others. Churches are big buildings. The land they are on must be worth a lot. I noticed in Reading, various branches of the Orthodox Church have rented former Anglican churches. There is even a new independent church that took over a former snooker hall. Where do they get the money?

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2 hours ago, KEV67 said:

 

I often wonder about church economics. In Reading I have seen lots of pubs close down, but not churches. When I used to go in the 80s, I assumed the church's main income was the collection. The majority of the churches I have been to recently have not even taken a collection. I understand the Church of England has a lot of investments, but what about all the other churches: Methodists, Baptists, United Reformed Church, Catholics and others. Churches are big buildings. The land they are on must be worth a lot. I noticed in Reading, various branches of the Orthodox Church have rented former Anglican churches. There is even a new independent church that took over a former snooker hall. Where do they get the money?

 

 

I believe tithing is the main income for most churches (that may depend on the denomination, though, not sure).  If you have a lot of members handing 10% of their income to your cause, its going to pay for a lot of shiny. 

 

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2 hours ago, Raven said:

 

I believe tithing is the main income for most churches (that may depend on the denomination, though, not sure).  If you have a lot of members handing 10% of their income to your cause, its going to pay for a lot of shiny. 

 

The trouble is that the church in general i.e. all denominations have been haemorrhaging members for years.  The fewer the members the less income. Unless the tithing has gone up like the cost of living.

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3 hours ago, lunababymoonchild said:

 

The trouble is that the church in general i.e. all denominations have been haemorrhaging members for years.  The fewer the members the less income. Unless the tithing has gone up like the cost of living.

 

 

Tithing is 10% of a person's income, so by definition it would go up as income increases. Also, there are a lot of churches that have closed or merged; my brother is a vicar of three parishes, where in years gone by he would have had sole responsibility for one.

 

24 minutes ago, Brian. said:

 

I wonder how much a wedding or funeral in a church costs. I can't imagine that brings much in the way of profit but I'm assuming there is a charge associated.

 

 

I can't imagine them trying to make a profit out of funerals*, but I suspect weddings have an element of 'Ker-ching!' about them. 

 

*Unless it is classed as an investment in the afterlife...

 

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When I used to go to church in the 80s, the congregation about filled a third of the church, and they were mostly elderly. When I recently started going again, the churches seemed at least as full, maybe a bit fuller. Again they are mostly elderly. The main difference is that there are more non-whites. It is difficult to believe they are all giving a tenth of their income to the church.

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I was interested to read some more about church economics, but I have only found two books:

  1. The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics. Looks quite interesting but costs £125.
  2. The Coming Revolution in Church Economics. Affordable, but since it is written by an American I do not suppose it explains the situation in Britain very well.
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One verse that touches on tithing.

2 Corinthians 9:7 - Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

 

I belong to a small Baptist church in the Southern belt. My reverend speaks on tithing but he doesn't beat our heads in with it. Our small church is paid for and we're about to build a bigger sanctuary. He and his wife are retired Navy and won't accept his monthly payment. When they pay him, it goes back to the church. Even when we have his anniversary program and a collection is taken, he gives back a tenth of it. He doesn't accept payment for being a guest preacher. 

 

Funds collected go towards the community. We know this because we've had family and friends who needed assistance and they were granted the money with no obligation to pay it back. THIS is what tithing is supposed to be used for, to help the community. They have a nice home but you better believe that it was purchased off their privately earned incomes. 

 

Not many churches can say this and it's sad because this is what the faith is about, providing for our brothers and sisters. There was an incident about two weeks ago were a "preacher" was robbed at gunpoint while actually live-streaming his "sermon." The thieves stole over a million dollars in jewelry that the preacher and his wife were actually wearing. This happened in New York. He has been accused of defrauding his congregation. Last week he did another live video to show his closet filled with expensive clothing and shoes. It made me sick to my stomach. His congregation are damn near destitute and here they are, flaunting and stealing. The unchristian part of me was really glad that he was robbed. Sadly, it's imposters like these that have saturated church pulpits and gullible congregants get shafted. 

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On 8/10/2022 at 10:52 PM, KEV67 said:

I was interested to read some more about church economics, but I have only found two books:

  1. The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics. Looks quite interesting but costs £125.
  2. The Coming Revolution in Church Economics. Affordable, but since it is written by an American I do not suppose it explains the situation in Britain very well.

 

A lot of churches are set up as charities, so you can find their accounts online if you take a look.

 

I took a look at one my brother used to work for a few years back and their main source of income - by far - comes from donations (which I believe includes legacies).

 

4 minutes ago, Virginia said:

 

There was an incident about two weeks ago were a "preacher" was robbed at gunpoint while actually live-streaming his "sermon." The thieves stole over a million dollars in jewelry that the preacher and his wife were actually wearing. This happened in New York. He has been accused of defrauding his congregation. Last week he did another live video to show his closet filled with expensive clothing and shoes. It made me sick to my stomach. His congregation are damn near destitute and here they are, flaunting and stealing. The unchristian part of me was really glad that he was robbed. Sadly, it's imposters like these that have saturated church pulpits and gullible congregants get shafted. 

 

 

I'm sure there are those who do [try to make money out of their congregations], but I don't believe we tend to get a lot of this in the UK.

 

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