During the summer (?) we were on holiday in York - good, relaxing break, mixed weather, met some friends, made some new temporary friends (embarrassing Dad thing that I do). And visited quite a few churches - well I did anyway.
Of course we went to the Minster and I enjoyed it more than my previous visit - somehow it felt more like a place of worship this time around. By contrast, went to a service at another church that we've been to before, and while the music and the 'up front bits' were good, there was no feeling of welcome - despite the church being packed. In fact, when the congregation was asked to say hello to the person next to them, no-one spoke to us. It wasn't that we were smelly or anything - they simply turned to the people that were sitting next to them, and who clearly sit next to them every week, and had a good old chinwag. Maybe we were causing offence by sitting in someone else's seat!
More positively, while the women in my life were shopping, I wandered off and visited some of the smaller churches dotted around the centre of York. (Actually I spent quite a lot of time doing this - because they spent quite a lot of time shopping!) This is where the link to my current thinking on church and vision - and increasingly worship - comes in. There are a number of church buildings in York that serve different purposes, and maybe they will offer a way to expand my thinking - almost acting as parables.
St Mary's Church is actually de-commissioned (is that the right word?), and is now used by York Museums Trust as a venue for art stuff. While we were in York, there was an installation called The memory of place by Keiko Mukaide. This will feature in future blogs - both as a narrative reflection, but also through the use of some of the photos that I took (starting with the one above).