Should churches always be open?

iBrian

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When I was younger I'd often wonder around local churches, and any cathedrals and similar when visiting other towns.

Something I found very annoying, though, was the fact that so often you could find a beautiful-looking church - but it would be closed.

I always felt it gave the impression that God was closed Mon-Sat, available Sundays only between 11am-12am and 4-5pm.

I once asked a group of UK Christians whether they thought churches should be open 24/7. Someone replied of course not, because they'd get their silver stolen.

Leaving the impression that God is more concerned about protecting the silver than keeping an open house.

Am I the only one who thinks it's absolutely nuts to close the House of God, whatever it's form, ever? Isn't that the point when a building can no longer serve as a House of God, if it has to be kept closed to protect the valuables?

I appreciate that some places of worship in non-Christian traditions have long traditions of having set periods of opening, but the impression I'm given is that in Christianity the closing of churches is a recent event - and especially became commonplace in the 20th century.

In that simple issue I see a profound symbolism in how the Church has lost itself to a modern audience.

What do you think?
 
I've only found Catholic churches that are open (or seem to be) all the time.

It seems funny to stop by on a week day, in the middle of the day, and find God's already there waiting for you!

Kinda special.
 
The Church is not about a building, the Church is people. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit. When we come together as a body, Christ is there in the midst of us ("Where two or three are gathered together in My Name...").
 
From my evangelical background: church= religious building, or church= a group of believers.

Think of all the christians that worship in unsual buildings like schools and community centres, and those that do church at home.
 
I don't think it's only about the silver being stolen Brian, but an open building must be attended to prevent vandalism and other abuses. Actually, if a person in need comes to an Episcopal Church they will often find it open during the week 8 am to 5 pm kind of thing...the Priest will typically be present and able to help either directly by giving funds or directing the person to a place that can help them, or of course with pastoral care and spiritual direction. I've noticed Catholic chruches are like this too. The churches usually are open for people to come in to pray, but not 24/7. I've noticed that in Episcopal Churches Wednesdays seem to be a big day for mid-week services and longer open hours.

The Episcopal church in my hometown is a beautiful old stone thing in a pretty setting in our small town. It's actually a tourist attraction, but even as such it is hard for the small congregation to keep the church open for visitors as much as they would like. However, they do the best they can and have someone there to keep the church open for at least a few hours every day.

luna
 
I said:
I once asked a group of UK Christians whether they thought churches should be open 24/7. Someone replied of course not, because they'd get their silver stolen.

Leaving the impression that God is more concerned about protecting the silver than keeping an open house.
..............
In that simple issue I see a profound symbolism in how the Church has lost itself to a modern audience.

What do you think?

What's wrong with letting people steal the silver? The church (whether you consider it a building or a community) is for the community!!!!

The thieves will benefit from stealing the silver. They might get enough to buy food for an extra day or pay off their mortgage. Thieves are a sign that something in the community is wrong!!! Allowing thieves to come in and steal may help them solve their personal problems, so let's help the thieves help themselves. We might even earn a convert.:eek:

The offerings made by people should not be for increasing a church's assets, but to increase the stockpiles for things that people can steal for their own benefit. Help yourself to what we have. What we have is your's.

Turn your church into a Burglar's Den. The church isn't just for the straight and upright. It's also for the crooked and misaligned.

Vandalism? Sure thing. If we have a group of angry people that are angry at society, or even at our church, no worries. Let them empty their anger on our church building. Bull-doze it down to smithereens. They will feel better afterwards. So let's let the vandals in and let them run wild to their heart's content!!! Vandals are welcome. We can take it. Let's not stop people from experiencing God when they need it.:D

Embrace the scumbags and rascals. They are one of us and we are one of them!!!

Let the Kingdom of Christ be a kingdom of thieves and vandals!!!!

Sometimes we just need to open up and get to know people who otherwise wouldn't know us.

Say hello to the Church of Crooks and Thugs. Get to know a thief today.
 
When I was younger I'd often wonder around local churches, and any cathedrals and similar when visiting other towns.

Something I found very annoying, though, was the fact that so often you could find a beautiful-looking church - but it would be closed.

I always felt it gave the impression that God was closed Mon-Sat, available Sundays only between 11am-12am and 4-5pm.

I once asked a group of UK Christians whether they thought churches should be open 24/7. Someone replied of course not, because they'd get their silver stolen.

Leaving the impression that God is more concerned about protecting the silver than keeping an open house.

Am I the only one who thinks it's absolutely nuts to close the House of God, whatever it's form, ever? Isn't that the point when a building can no longer serve as a House of God, if it has to be kept closed to protect the valuables?

I appreciate that some places of worship in non-Christian traditions have long traditions of having set periods of opening, but the impression I'm given is that in Christianity the closing of churches is a recent event - and especially became commonplace in the 20th century.

In that simple issue I see a profound symbolism in how the Church has lost itself to a modern audience.

What do you think?

Until 1979, the churches around our home were open 24/7 (I know, I made use of the pews in them many a time while growing up as a disgruntled teenager). Then the vandalism got so bad (and not for theft, because it's hard to pawn church stuff...), the doors began to be locked.

Now however, if one goes to the rectory and requests to be let into the church, the local priest or vicar most likely will acquiesce, and let the soul sit for a spell, alone.

On military bases, the chapels are always left open, but the self discipline of the community around, allows for that.

Seems to me the symbolism might be more aimed at how society has lost something to modernism...not the church.

Signs of the times I suppose.

v/r

Joshua
 
On military bases, the chapels are always left open, but the self discipline of the community around, allows for that.

Seems to me the symbolism might be more aimed at how society has lost something to modernism...not the church.


Agreed. if people think that churches should be open all the time - they should leave their houses open as well.

There was a time when our front door was always open.

Thomas
 
I don't think it's only about the silver being stolen Brian, but an open building must be attended to prevent vandalism and other abuses. Actually, if a person in need comes to an Episcopal Church they will often find it open during the week 8 am to 5 pm kind of thing...the Priest will typically be present and able to help either directly by giving funds or directing the person to a place that can help them, or of course with pastoral care and spiritual direction. I've noticed Catholic chruches are like this too. The churches usually are open for people to come in to pray, but not 24/7. I've noticed that in Episcopal Churches Wednesdays seem to be a big day for mid-week services and longer open hours.

The Episcopal church in my hometown is a beautiful old stone thing in a pretty setting in our small town. It's actually a tourist attraction, but even as such it is hard for the small congregation to keep the church open for visitors as much as they would like. However, they do the best they can and have someone there to keep the church open for at least a few hours every day.

luna


You are more enough on the right lines years back I remeber a very "nice" looking church... It was destroyed.... the pew's smashed and shattered, statues smashed and defaced... windows bricked, people had urninated in the pulpitt. And yeah silver/gold ware was all stolen... Graffitti all over the place... It is a time in these ages where most do not "fear" jah. Sure you could of left it open years and years back... could get all your possession in that church and leave them out front and go to sleep and come back and none would be gone lol.... sleeping with your front door open... Times change... :) Anway back to what I was saying I think it comes down to the teachings and how they have changed through time. Once not many could read the bible and had to sit there and listen to what some preacher told them... all hell and brimbstone!! there is a fear there... But I don't think fear tactics are used much anymore and when it is most simply laugh and turn a blind eye to it.... You allow places like churches to be open... They WILL be vandalised, defaced and stolen from.

Also I think Brian? Said that he felt jah's office was shut from mon-sat? Why? Can you not pray? Can you not approach jah? Does not the bible say you can approach him? Isn't the "gift" of prayer that you can do it standing, kneeling eyes open shut, prayer said in group or alone. out loud or silent? This "gift" jah has given one and all a direct line with him is able to be used in any situation possible... And bibles... Are they truly that rare of a book? They are world wide and in thousands of languages... You have a bible you have the ability to prayer.... What difference does it make doing it at home/someone eles home/a park/in bed/wherever and then a church... What difference does that make.
 
thought I'd throw my two pennies worth in...

...as a child I wanted to be a missionary, and save all the wee black babies in africa, yet life doesn't work out that way, and I became a runaway, and I would seek solace in churches... here was god, supposedly, and so there I was too, praying, hoping things would change, hoping that God would answer my earnest prayers... at 12, I turned away from God, all my years of devotion swept away, and I would go about desecrating churches, usually alone, occasionally with friends... breaking open the poor box, stealing the communion wafers, drinking the wine, setting fire to the bibles and hymn books, poo-ing on the altar... stuff you, god, I was saying, in my childish way, yet my turning away didnt turn me into an atheist- catholicism was too hard wired into me for me to do that... one day, on breaking into a church with a friend, we disturbed the priest, and he caught my friend, so I picked up an iron bar and was just about to whack him over the head until I realised that yes, I might be angry at God, and I might even have good cause to, but I didn't know this priest, and if I did whack him on the head with this bar I wouldn't only be caving his skull in, but I would also be harming an innocent man, so, I put down the bar and allowed myself to be captured by the police, and I never went back into another church for nefarious purposes ever again...

so, the moral to my tale is- there's only three types of person who breaks into a church- the drug addict, who is looking for something to sell to feed his habit, the young tearaways who are bored and have no respect for the church, and the troubled souls, like me, who feel let down by God and who want to let him know... most other people, even if they were really poor would not dream of stealing from a house of god, of any denomination, not because they are holy rollers, but becuase it is something that people do not do...

...maybe instead of opening their actual doors to the poor and dispossessed, the church/temple has to be more creative in their endeavours, and open other doors, build hostels, childrens homes, youth clubs, et cetera, and, in fact, I think the more fervent and enlightened ones do just that...

yes, knock and the door shall be opened onto u, but unless ur going to provide security guards on churches and hermitages or teach priests and nuns hand to hand combat then the church door shouldn't be opened without a chain, at the very least. It's a sad sign of the times...
 
while it is extremely important to get together as a body of christ and commune with each other and sing and praise god and pray as a community, when the doors close and the lights go off, it becomes more important that you take the spirit of god with you and continue to pray in solitude and praise him in all things until you are back in church. just because it closes doesnt mean god has left or is not watching you or doesnt care to hear from you. if you want to open a church and find a way to keep it open 24 hours, im sure some people might appreciate that, but it is not necessary.
 
while it is extremely important to get together as a body of christ and commune with each other and sing and praise god and pray as a community, when the doors close and the lights go off, it becomes more important that you take the spirit of god with you and continue to pray in solitude and praise him in all things until you are back in church. just because it closes doesnt mean god has left or is not watching you or doesnt care to hear from you. if you want to open a church and find a way to keep it open 24 hours, im sure some people might appreciate that, but it is not necessary.

Easy enough fix. Install an electronic key and a hidden camera and a microphone and speaker. Want to go in to church, push the button. The Rectory answers, then decides to whether to let one in or not. nine times out of ten, the clergy will shortly appear in church as well, because some soul needs solace...

In the old days, there was always someone in the church (day and night). Usually a trusted lay person, and they were there two fold; watch over the church, and be there for the soul that needed to sit in silence for awhile.
 
who would not be let in? and why?

Well I suppose if a bunch of thugs who's intentions were obviously other than honorable, common sense would indicate that they not be let in...


you gotta remember, there was a time when a priest or a nun were above reproach, beyond being touched, even by the toughest of men. That is not the same today.
 
im thinking homeless people, maybe drunks. either the church takes it upon themselves to not let certain people in, or people avoid 24/7 churches because homeless people are in there, or everyone is allowed in and society is cool with it. i know the church is for the needy but does everyone know that? no shoes no service?
 
im thinking homeless people, maybe drunks. either the church takes it upon themselves to not let certain people in, or people avoid 24/7 churches because homeless people are in there, or everyone is allowed in and society is cool with it. i know the church is for the needy but does everyone know that? no shoes no service?

No, that's why the local churches run "soup kitchens". That is a 24/7 operation, and parisheners can contribute a bit of their time to help run and maintain such (thus helping those in need).

This here issue is us about going into church at anytime (for prayer, or a need to feel closer to God). In church, many feel the "veil" between heaven and earth is thinnest (I know I do). It is holy ground, and people want to be able to be on such when they are in need....finding a locked door, really sucks.
 
then there should be a portion of the church set aside to be open 24/7. sounds good to me, and it might save someone or bring them back. we should all maybe write to our churches and and least give the suggestion.
 
then there should be a portion of the church set aside to be open 24/7. sounds good to me, and it might save someone or bring them back. we should all maybe write to our churches and and least give the suggestion.

Or those with business sense (and a heart of gold), should start one in their local areas...then go to the churches elders for assistance.
 
Re: the comments about a church being a people, not a building - that's what I mean about the building being a "House of God".

To me the building was never simply a place to meet - it was somewhere to open the ordinary person to the extraordinary God. If anyone's ever walked around an old church building by themselves, perhaps especially at night, you'll know what I mean. :)

As for groups worried about the buildings being vandalised - again, I think this is a key area where the church has completely lost touch with modern society.

Remember in the good old days when Jesus hung out with the backside of society and got slated for the company he kept? And then the monks and priests who used church buildings to welcome the lost, the homeless, the destitute, the troubled?

And now?

Sorry, church is closed - you're no good.

If a church cannot embrace society enough to keep its doors open all of the time, then it has failed to try to engage society. Material concerns shouldn't be an issue in spirituality.

If the silver is so precious, put it somewhere else. If the building needs protection, then set up protection.

I think the fact that many churches in the UK at least shut them off from society speaks volumes about their failure to engage society.

And, if any Christian church is worried about vandalism when open 24/7, then train up a new religious order in use of the quarter staff.

I'm seriously not kidding - I can see such a presence having a very positive impact on the growing generation. The church as open, welcoming, but protective. Isn't that what religious buildings should be, for God and Faith?
 
And, if any Christian church is worried about vandalism when open 24/7, then train up a new religious order in use of the quarter staff.
I'm seriously not kidding - I can see such a presence having a very positive impact on the growing generation. The church as open, welcoming, but protective. Isn't that what religious buildings should be, for God and Faith?


You mean like some kinda security monks and preists? lol... Don't you think they'd end up getting hurt and killed?

Say lil jimmy crack head needs a fix.... theres an open church.. he can steal stuff from this church here that is open and sell it or trade it for a fix, any means possible... that priest is in trouble ;\ Who from an apprantley non violent religion wish to put themselves in that postion?
 
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