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This page last updated 25 September 2017
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

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Letters from the week of 18 September - 24 September 2017

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What is Church?

A bit of a sonnet I once wrote, with a not quite perfect rhyming scheme - some might say, a bit of doggerel - may be relevant.

"The church is not the building but the folk
who come to sing and pray and gossip and
on Sunday mornings in the Bible soak
their hearts and minds, and all about the land
remember, at their best, what Jesus told
is basically true, not tommy rot,
and care, at least a little, some a lot,
for neighbours who are outside in the cold.”

And partly this is so, but I record
“the church” is also wood or brick or stone,
the “house of God”, the “temple of the Lord”,
God’s property, God’s place, briefly on loan
to us, where in the silence we may sense
within, the Holy One. To church go hence !

The word "church" is used in various different ways in the 1662 BCP, including in reference to the BUILDING ! And there is a whole Homily on the subject of what it calls "the house of God" and "the temple of the Lord" and on preserving reverence within it - something one can still find in most Roman Catholic churches but sadly not so often now in our Anglican and Episcopalian churches. An Australian poet, James McAuley, wrote "set pools of silence in this thirsty land".

John Bunyan
St John the Baptist's Parish Church, Canberra
Campbelltown, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA
bunyanj@tpg.com.au
18 September 2017

 

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We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.

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