Church Service

St John the Baptist Church in Bristol

St John the Baptist Church in Bristol

Next Friday I am giving a Halloween lecture in St John the Baptist’s church in Bristol. It is a fantastic venue. In the 12th century there were five churches built into Bristol’s city walls, acting both as part of the city’s defences, and as places for travellers to offer prayers before a journey. St John’s is the only one that remains. The present church dates from the 14th century and the interior still feels medieval. Walter Frampton (died 1388), who was mayor of the city three times, founded the church, and his splendid monument stands in the chancel. His effigy lies on a tombchest decorated with heraldic shields, with a long-tailed dog at his feet.

So, a lecture about supernatural beliefs, Halloween and religion delivered by an AAA (apathetic atheist/agnostic-depending on how you define your god that you want me to reject) in a church, followed by a wine reception in the crypt below. Have I gone too far?

The church is decommissioned but still sanctified. Falling church attendances mean that many churches up an down the country face similar futures. Of course, the irony is that Halloween was once a pagan festival to rid the village of malevolent spirits. Possibly a religion if you wish to call it that. Certainly it was a ceremonial ritual to address the belief in supernatural entities. Down the track from where I live in the countryside, is a 5,000 year-old burial mound of another defunct religion-  this time maintained by the National Trust. It would seem that all religions are doomed but leave behind legacies.

I happen to like many religious monuments and buildings. They are a testament to the strength of conviction and inspiration that religious beliefs can generate. I may be a non-believer but I will be donating my speaker’s fee to the fund to support the upkeep of St John’s.

6 Comments

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6 responses to “Church Service

  1. a 14th century church? That’s worthy of a donation

  2. brucehood

    Hi Nursemyra, I would make a double entendre about donations at your site (especially on Fridays) but that would be below me😉. How’s the book going?

  3. an AAA (apathetic atheist/agnostic-depending on how you define your god that you want me to reject)

    Hah! Nice. Love that quote.

    I happen to like many religious monuments and buildings. They are a testament to the strength of conviction and inspiration that religious beliefs can generate.

    And they are just damn beautiful. Except maybe the crucifixes, those are pretty creepy. It always astounds me when people accuse atheists of wanting to “tear down the Cathedrals”. Who exactly is proposing that, and how do I contact them to tell them they are a dick?!

  4. Bruce,
    What a great venue. I love old churches and cathedrals. So much history and wonderful architecture. As a member of the AAA (love that, by the way. Thanks), I can appreciate your lecture in such a setting.

    And just for the record, I have never run about calling for the tearing down of cathedrals, either.

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