Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

Cabbie's HOLIDAY

"Do you have to go to church when you go on holiday," asked the taximan as we pulled out of the Haymarket. He made it sound as if going to Church was either a bore or a penance. "A break from normal routine could be a good thing," he went on.

Does that mean you stop doing all good things for a couple of weeks, I thought? Like saying thank you or asking for help? I can't have that. Anyway, if you're looking for a change while you're away, how about visiting one of those churches you've always wanted to visit? Like Salisbury Cathedral or St Stephen's on the Cliffs, Blackpool or Cartmel Priory? And nearly every country village has a church. It could be the highlight of the holiday. "Or it could be so bad that it makes you value your own church all the more," said the driver.

Well, I had to agree to that. One summer I visited a small town church in Flanders and I can still hear the choir rendering Panis Angelicus. Rendering was the right word. They did their best but only the angels would have fully appreciated the effort. Our local singers can do so much better.

Even so, I'm rarely disappointed and as Sunday is often the first day of the holiday, it's good to start with a blessing. And the local people are always pleased to see us.

If you're concerned about visiting one of the places which charges you for admission (York Minster, Canterbury Cathedral) remember that they don't charge you if you are attending a service. Just tell the man at the gate.

"But I have to charge you pounds 3," said the driver. Ah, that's less than Canterbury, I thought.


THIS week has seen the commemoration of the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513. Next Saturday the clocks will be turned even further back to remember the Battle of Heavenfield, near Hexham. There, in 634AD Oswald, King of Northumbria, set up the Christian Cross to inspire his troops before defeating the forces of Cadwallon. …

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