On our trip to Scotland last year, we visited Coventry Cathedral, St Michael’s (Architect: Basil Spence) to which we had gone on a previous occasion but had been unable to enter because they were holding a service. I have recorded my lack of enthusiasm for its external appearance, and that I did not think it melded well with its bombed and ruined predecessor. (This view runs contrary to popular opinion.)

This time we were admitted (at a cost of £5 per head, to which I had no objection, but other visitors took exception to being charged.) We asked if they had a disabled toilet and an officer of the church kindly offered to guide us. We were lowered by a temperamental and juddering lift down into the dark bowels of the church, joking that it was like descending into hell.

Rising to the ground floor again we found ourselves in a large space with dark, unfinished, rough walls, some kind of concrete perhaps. There was a peculiar tapestry, over-sized, of a human figure (a representation of Christ by Graham Sutherland apparently). The cathedral did have modern art that was attractive, including a beautiful chapel tiled in gold and black. Also the modern stained glass window is striking and original.

Since I never attend church apart from as a tourist inspecting the architecture, or when invited to attend weddings, christenings or funerals, my comment on the religiosity of a church is rather similar to my difficulty in answering the question, Do you approve of women priests? I see no need for priests at all, and therefore whether they are male or female is of no relevance. But in fact I did not find this brutal building lent itself to any feeling of being in a temple of worship. I thought John put it rather well when he said it was like a warehouse used to store religious art.

I am not averse to modern church buildings. Although the concrete cathedral at Napier, New Zealand is rather stark, the modern Holy Trinity Cathedral at the top of the hill in Auckland, NZ is mellow and charming, and the circular Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool with its altar at the centre of the building and its chapels lining the curved walls is unusual and lovely.

You don’t actually need a church or cathedral of course. In a pine forest; on a beach; in a field of barley; in someone’s garden; on a hill top – you can see God in all those places just as well.

And if you must have priests, of course you can have women. God is not partial.


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

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