It’s great that the churches have been asked to get involved in the Year of Culture as they have been such a resource for our culture over the centuries and continue to be hubs of our spiritual and community life.
Church buildings are iconic places in each of our towns and villages and many are repositories for our heritage – marking the place where major events in people’s lives have been celebrated. Where people have been married and given rest at the last across the generations. Where people have regularly come to give thanks, or offer their fears and concerns in prayer.
They can also be places of great architecture and house great works for art, in stained glass and sculpture for example. Some are great venues for music and some great venues for community events. They can evoke an atmosphere like no other place – just think of carols by candlelight.
I would like the Year of Culture to be a chance for people to experience our churches, to pop in and experience what they are like – to enjoy the art and the heritage, but also the Christian communities that make them what they are.
I hope the churches too will take the opportunity to try something different, to invite new artists to perform, to put on events they have never tried before and welcome people that they have never met.
By The Revd Dr Mark Betson, Rural and Environment Officer