This is an astonishing piece of breaking news; how many of us might have to find thousands of pounds to shore up our local church, and it doesn't even matter if one is not a church goer.

From the abolition of the monastries under Henry VIII we have inherited the liabilty to support the churches in emergencies. I always thought that God helped those that helped themselves.

Regarding the keeness of the zealots at my church, there is little change. If there is a change it is not for the better. An indication of their mindset may be guaged from this tiny exchange: once per month there is an all-ages service, mainly for boy scouts and girl guides etc., but there is no Eucharist. There is Eucharist a little later in a side chapel. After coffee I moved to the church and as I did so asked a friend if they were coming. "oh, no!" My friend said. "We've already been". "Already??", I said. "No, we've already been to the service".

It isn't much, I grant you, but it betrayed how my friend thought of the service. It was all hymn singing and dib dib. But in their mind that was the important bit. The miracle of the Eucharist didn't get a look in.

There was such a service in mid-December. There were loads and loads of youngsters and their parents, and naturally the usual congregation, too, but there was no Eucharist. A little later there was the Eucharist in the side-chapel but there were only three worshippers plus the priest. Where had all the Christians gone? Why are they all turning their backs on the Eucharist?

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