Church carol services – entertainment for ‘Christmas tourists’ or a time for belief?

In the Daily Telegraph  Rupert Myers says that  anyone is welcome to come into a church at Christmas and for carol services. But he asks is too much effort being made by places of worship to attract the ‘flocks of Christmas tourists’.

St Mark's, Bilton Warwickshire

St Mark’s, Bilton Warwickshire


He says:
“Anyone is welcome to come into a church at Christmas, but maybe it’s also time for some of the Christmas tourists to stop kidding themselves. Perhaps what we need is to find a beautiful old building somewhere, deck it out with meaningless yet attractive symbols, paintings and carvings, fill it with diffusers which release a suitably spiced, exotic aroma, and charge people to come and sing carols. You could improve upon the carols by throwing out all the old-fashioned words and bits which don’t rhyme and replace them with something more accessible, adding a decent bass line, or some percussion. You could have ample parking, a crèche and gift shop. Afterwards the organisers can flog mulled wine and go to town on the premium organic mince pies. You could have readings from Dickens instead of all that Biblical stuff. It could be a great money spinner, and if it was owned by a church it would be a win-win situation.”

You can read his article online

Is there a correct balance between churches being open to visitors and being sacred spaces for worship? Or have churches always been places which have welcomed in both their congregations and visitors? Please tell us what do you think?

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