Sounding off on Sunday Trading

So the post Olympic arguments rumble on.  Keep Sunday special!  People are coerced into working! versus Let people shop! Free choice for all!

Get a grip.  There are thousands of people working rotas which include Sundays, and nights, and generally inconvenient times, and there have been for years.  I’m thinking of emergency services, infrastructure repair teams, medical staff, media desks, utility workers (God bless ’em!), care staff, ministers of religion (who everyone knows only work on Sundays), transport companies, logistics (that’s delivery people) and others too numerous to remember (I’m sorry if you are one and I haven’t mentioned you). 

Since when was church about what happens on a Sunday at 0930, 1000 or 1100 or whatever time your “main” service is?  I am ever more firmly convinced that God finds ways to be around outside those times and outside church buildings.  

“But some people won’t realise that they need to connect with God….or that they need time to relax and unwind.”  Quite right.  Some people won’t.  But preventing them from doing the things they want when they want, and opening a locked building for an hour and a half each Sunday really won’t solve that particular conundrum.  

How about thinking of ways of connecting with people as they live daily life?  Ways to open churches so that there is quiet space?  Ways to enable people to gather on days other than Sundays?  Ways of having ministers visible in shops and at rugby training?  God will manage to connect with or without us.  But we are hands and feet.  We should perhaps think about the directions in which we run the race.  


4 responses to “Sounding off on Sunday Trading

  1. It's a fact that a locked church is one closed to it's communities.

    We open our five churches daily, even if no one is in attendance. We take that risk because we think that it's important that people have access to the Sacred, quiet space in their community.

    I agree that we should be where people are, not in a static building, and to a greater or lesser extent we do this. We are in our school, our care homes, in our Village Hall where we run a coffee shop weekly. We have an active and over subscribed youth group and a number of small groups including bring and share, After 8's, Church Mice (mother and toddlers) and so on.

    We jointly with the school organise the village fete, we are at all community events and we will be doing our Back to Church event in the Village hall, not the church.

    In addition a number of volunteers visit the sick and do all sorts of things from transport to shopping for the housebound. These are the hidden, unsung people who witness in small ways, that reach into the heart of the community.

    I'm not sure that we have the resources to do more, but I would like to extend our outreach further through social media and providing opportunities for those without a computer to access it – perhaps an internet cafe alongside the coffee shop? With skilful, patient people to help others.

    I wait for my future ministry to be developed with my Vicar, but I see it being outside the church building, rather than inside.

    As for Sunday trading, I disagree with extending the hours, but just wonder if Government would prefer to listen to commercial interests than those people who will be affected, particularly retail staff in all of the big stores etc.

  2. Always a difficult thing to do more of…because that may mean doing less of something else – or engaging with giftings previously unexplored!

    I can't see any reason for not extending Sunday retail – my point is that I see no difference between that or any of the services I pointed to. Or are people who work in shops in special need of Sunday church attendance? While gas network co-ordinators or fire service personnel aren't???

  3. The clergyman responsible in many ways for our marriage, currently leads a church which at the shops. Meadgate Church is (from memory and we've not had time to visit for several years) accessed in the corner of an L-shaped range of local shops in a suburban area. The front door is another shop-front, but upstairs is a large worship area that hosts the many activities of a vibrant Christian community. It operates all through the week, and is a constant hive of activity. Proper Son-day Trading!

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