Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous in the wrong hands, 19 July 2011
This review is from: Re-pitching the Tent: Re-ordering Your Church Building for Worship and Mission (Paperback)
We had a vicar that became totally obsessed with this book, and as a result he wanted the pews ripped out and 'comfortable seating' put in; sermons could no longer be preached from the pulpit but had to be at ground level 'amongst the people'; priests had to stop sitting near the altar facing the congregation and had to be 'amongst the congregation' instead; we no longer had coffee in our large church hall (with a good kitchen) and instead it was served at the back of the church, which was very inconvenient with no facilities, not even running water - but it was considered that 'everything must take place in the church'. The vicar stated that we would no longer kneel for Holy Communion but had to stand and queue up in a production line -- actually being told 'If anyone kneels, I won't give them Holy Communion'.... This is just a fraction of what happened purely as a result of a vicar reading this book.

Within less than a year the congregation dwindled to such an extent that the church closed and was eventually demolished to make way for social housing. A thriving church community was absolutely ripped apart and still suffers the scars to this day. Some people could not face starting again elsewhere, and have not been to church since.

So I would say, by all means read this book - but my first hand experience is that it can be very dangerous in the wrong hands. If you like church traditions, the peace and holiness of an old church building etc, then this book is probably not for you.
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Initial post: 10 Sep 2012 14:24:15 BDT
Bacchus says:
This is a truly sad story.

Writing as someone who has taken part in the worship of many churches as a choral singer, I was a little alarmed at the writer's dismissal of all the traditions and discipline that goes into producing high quality music making in church.

However, it is a sad fact of life that congregations in churches have declined but I would rather attend formal traditional services than a large 'vibrant' church with dumbed down informal worship. Reading the comments in your review make me think that the real problem of your church was the vicar trying to steer an unwilling congregation along his own idealogical path. I am sure that the issues leading to the church's closure would have occured had he done nothing to disturb the fabric of the building.
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