Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

On your KNEES

Visiting various churches while on holiday, I've been impressed by the beauty of the kneelers provided in the pews. Colourful leaf designs, birds, castles, saints, all worked thread by thread by loving fingers. They are often in such superb condition that I wonder if anyone ever dares to kneel on them. Come to think of it, is kneeling going out of fashion in our churches?

There was a time in the Church of England when we were invited to pray, meekly kneeling upon our knees. We used to smile at the shampoo position of the Methodists who bent over to the pew in front. We looked askance at the swaying rhythm of those who waved their arms in praise. In those days they said you could tell a vicar who said his prayers because the knees of his trousers wore out before the backside. But now, standing, sitting and swaying. . . anything goes.

Did kneeling die out when those heavy old church pews were replaced with basket chairs? It's much more difficult to kneel behind a basket chair, sliding about on a polished floor.

Or could it be ( and this is the serious bit ( that worshippers are simply reflecting a movement in today's society? Authority is not a popular word these days and to kneel before authority ( even if it be the throne of God ( goes against the grain. If this is so, sadly we may have lost something rather important. Showing our respect for God by bending the knee may be the first lesson in learning to show our respect, one towards another.


My old vicar used to stop the service if he failed to hear the people saying "Amen" at the end of prayers. I have much sympathy with him. When the people respond with "Amen" it means that they agree with what the minister has just said. It means, "so be it" and it's been that way since the early Church.

St Augustine (who knew about these things) said: "The mystic sound of Hebrew is heard in all lands. …

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