Sunday, March 6, 2011
Church Tradition: a Sunday Post
This past Sunday following the service up in Thurso Rev. MacL and Mr. W were discussing various interesting situations that come from having small congregations, especially in very old churches.
Understand that many of the churches up in the isolated north seem to be made up of under a dozen attendees, mostly elderly people(think 70+ years). So picture this: an old stone church building with a nice long center aisle with the minister standing in the pulpit up in the front, and the entire congregation sitting in the very back.
Now, most churchgoers are guilty of sitting in the very same pew week after week, and that's simply what these people were doing. For the last two hundred years their respective families had sat in those particular pews, which happened to be in the very back. And the remaining parishioners absolutely refused to sit anywhere else, even when the church size dwindled and the preacher was so far away from the congregation that his face was unrecognizable.
One minister tried to force his flock to the front by putting up a curtain right through the middle of the church, so the pulpit couldn't be seen from the back of the building. Come Sunday he couldn't see a single one of his parishioners- they were all behind the curtain. Another Reverend gave up and simply preached from the center pew. This just goes to show how hard it is to break tradition.
Note: the photos are from our quick stop at St. Magnus.