I have reason to use the M50 motorway quite frequently. The M50 is the two-lane motorway that runs from near Strensham Services in Worcestershire to Ross on Wye.
Just north of the motorway; just yards in fact, near the Strensham end, is a church – all on its own.
For years, I have driven past it (at 69 mph), and each time I thought I must find out about that lonely old church, and for years I simply forgot about it until I drove past it the next time…
Now I have remembered to investigate! It is called Pendock Church and here are some links so if you want to you can find out about the church overlooking the M50.
The Churches Conservation Trust on Pendock Church
Visit Worcestershire on Pendock Church
Wikipedia on Pendock Church
Pendock Church has fallen out of use
Pendock is not alone as an unused church, far from it, there are many hundreds of such buildings owned or have been owned by the Church of England.
Church buildings such as Pendock were not built purely as a place of worship, they were built to be at the heart of the village community. Today some might have a service once a month, many stand altogether unused, a sad situation that has arisen because of their misuse. That misuse is – or was– that they were turned over purely for worship. That is not the purpose for which they were intended.
Follow that Cathedral
Cathedrals, however, are also at the centre of the community (they are a lot bigger and not many in number I know) and are going a long way to satisfying the intentions for which they were intended. They have become ‘art galleries and concert halls, theatres and conference venues, social centres and schools’ and more as well as places for worship.
Maybe with a little more ingenuity, more use could be made of the church buildings. Churches were never intended to have lines of pews or a church hall come to that. The halls are part of the problem. I used to go to Cubs and then Scouts in the Church Hall. We should have been allowed to use the church building itself!
I say delegate power back to the parishes and ask them what use they would put (including worship) their church to, and let's have a few football or netball tournaments or fashion shows or horticultural shows or motor shows or seminars or bible classes or all of them and more of them INSIDE THE CHURCH.
The adage says. Use it or lose it.
Here is a link to Simon Jenkins’ take on the problem.
There are also some links to organisations working to save the churches. I have no association with any of them but would like someone to take the lead on the problem, namely the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Churches Conservation Trust