Wednesday, 10 March 2010

I Went To Church Today

I decided to have a ‘quiet time’ when I was in Napier this morning.  I have never been in a church in Napier except for a funeral.  Unfortunately one can’t just take refuge from the hectic, noisy world in most churches these days:  they are locked against the vandals.  To be frank the denomination of the church was not a consideration but it occurred to me that The (Anglican) Cathedral would at least be open to the public.  It was.  As I walked in there were some people chatting by the door so I side-stepped them and went down the church and sat down with my thoughts.  After a while the Guide (for that is what one of the three was) came and chatted to me, gave me a pamphlet about the church and said I was welcome to take photos of anything except the paintings of the stations of the cross (which were the last paintings on the face of the earth I would have wanted to photograph – I can understand why the artist refused permission!).  The Guide assumed I was a tourist and carried on in appropriate vein until I told him that I was, in fact, just a person who lived here who wanted to sit quietly.  By then my train of thought was broken so I decided to be a tourist and the results will appear on A Hebridean in New Zealand.

Whether one has faith or not I would certainly suggest that churches generally have a peacefulness which is conducive to thought and I have had some moments in churches which have been exceptionally spiritual and moving.  In fact I’m sure I have blogged about my experience in Rheims Cathedral.  Yes, I did, briefly.  On Eagleton Notes in Death in Victory.

So I never really had my ‘quiet time’.  But, hey, there’ll be more opportunities.


  1. I know exactly how you feel. I haven't chosen to go to a church service for probably 15 years. But if I want somewhere quite, calm and relaxing then most churches fit the bill perfectly. They are somewhere you can be alone with your thoughts without too many distractions. I don't know if I'll ever choose to go to a church service again but I do know that I can't imagine never sitting contemplating life in one again.

  2. Sorry your quiet time got interrupted. I think neither the churches nor the world at large has yet quite caught up with the phenomenon of camera not necessarily meaning tourist but perhaps just a thoughtful local blogger...

    I know what you mean (I think) about that atmosphere. In some old churches especially... it often strikes me how many people through the years have been coming there with their thoughts and prayers - both in thankfulness and in sorrow. Somehow, just by entering (and especially in that frame of mind, seeking the quiet) you're somehow united with all the people who have been there before you (and others that will follow)...

    I hope you at least got a brief "whiff" of what you came for, before you became a tourist! ♥

  3. What a wonderful opportunity. I haven't done that in a long time. I shall try to do so very soon.
    I like Dawn Treader's idea of being united in spirit with all of the people who have been there in times past. I was in a service at my favorite church in Texas (also of the Anglican descent) and the pastor said the the original design of all communion tables was to be pushed up against the back wall, so that we could imagine "communing" with all of those who have gone to the "other side."
    I love that.