For many worshippers church as both a community and the physical church building has a particular resonance and meaning.  At a time when it’s not possible to enter our buildings many in our church family were missing the opportunity to physically gather and to be in their buildings.  To mark Pentecost Revd Sherine Angus, Assistant Curate in the Alford Group of Churches asked their congregation to articulate ‘What does church mean to you?’ and here are their responses: 

  • Being closer to God
  • Church gives me an aura of peace.
  • Church is where I encounter God through prayer, worship and fellowship.
  • Church is my spiritual home where I find strength and confidence from prayers which have bene made, shared and answered for 800 years.
  • To join with a group of people who meet you for a common purpose, to worship and give thanks to God; to reflect and learn how to live one’s life and spread the message of love.
  • It is the nub of our Christian life; helping us to give our service to God through Jesus Christ our Lord and the Holy Spirit.
  • Church is a place of quiet where I can think and reflect.
  • Church gives me a sense of calm.
  • Church to me is like a tapestry. The feasts, fasts and festivals are the embroidery on a firm strong fabric. What is so hard at present is we have the embroidery but not the firm foundation fabric of worship and the sacraments.
  • The most important reason I like to come to church is to receive Holy Communion with Christ Jesus our saviour, taking part in the service singing hymns (or trying to!) and seeing members of the church family. I feel better afterwards.
  • Church is a spiritual place where I can give thanks to God and ask for his help. As in Van Morrison’s words – “When I am lonely as I can be, I know that God shines his light on me”.
  • Church is faith, friends and family.

Sherine said: “It was really lovely to read the comments on what church means to our church family. There are a wide range of thoughts and feelings portrayed.  It was humbling and moving to see how they expressed the importance of their relationship with God and the way that church was part of  that relationship.

"Whilst a building isn’t strictly necessary, it certainly makes life easier!  It provides us with a place to meet and to join in fellowship, for we are only complete as a body with each and everyone of us taking our part.  A building isn’t essential, and we would of course, survive without one, in fact we have proved that we can over the last ten weeks, as we have gathered together, without our buildings, continuing to worship and glorify God. But our church buildings have a value and importance that cannot be underestimated. 

"We must not dismiss our churches as ‘just a building’ for they are so much more.  Our churches are the place where we gather to mark the big occasions of life, our Baptisms, weddings and funerals, they have been soaked in prayer for hundreds of years and are the places where we gather to worship God and to celebrate the Eucharist.

“Everyone is missing going to church, whether that is the actual building or to see their friends and the wider church family, so we thought to mark Pentecost we would produce a short film to honour what church means to them whist reminding our parishioners of the eleven beautiful churches that we are lucky to have within our group.

“Using an image of each church I then added a quote to the picture and we set it to music. Many people have been self-isolating during this time so this is the first time some of them have seen some of the churches and many said it had been a much needed reminder of their church community and the joy of meeting together to share faith, fellowship and friendship. As lockdown eases we hope that we will all be able to come together soon.”

This story was published on Tuesday 16th June 2020.