St Mary, East Brent - pulpit

When I became a Trustee of the Somerset Churches Trust I didn’t know what a ‘Church Crawl’ actually was. I am learning that they provide an opportunity to enjoy the peace, beauty and craftsmanship evident in so many places of worship in Somerset.

I couldn’t possibly put it better than did Athena – Cultural Crusader – recently in an article in Country Life edition dated March 30th 2022. With the kind permission of Country Life an extract from this beautifully written piece follows:

With one surprise following another on a church crawl Athena found that ‘what crowned her enjoyment of these lovingly maintained buildings and their contents was the fact that every single church door she tried was open. That’s something she would not necessarily have expected in times gone by and is testimony to the unsung labours of parishioners. Athena both thanks and salutes them. She wonders retrospectively whether this reality reflects something of a change in the perceived importance of these buildings: during lockdown, all of us became aware of the things that existed on our doorstep and in the process, came to value them more than before.

Church buildings are part of our common inheritance that we can all enjoy. As places of worship, they are more than museums, as monuments, they are more than venues for services and, as public buildings, they are more than the possession of their congregations. It further adds to their appeal that, as buildings with a deep history, they don’t entirely belong to one generation or, indeed, to one family or group. Instead, they transcend time and society, embodying in our landscape and streets collective possession, history and identity.

These are not – to state the obvious – qualitites susceptible to quantification on a spreadsheet. We need to cherish churches as much as we can, particularly at the present moment, when the future of these buildings is once again in the headlines.’

Well said. And do join a Somerset Churches Trust Church Crawl and sample our own county treasures!

Marion Jeffrey