Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Almighty puts people before church buildings

Lord Lexden praises Environment Minister Alex Attwood for providing £400,000 for conservation work at Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast (Write Back, February 22).

I think it enhances the province when buildings of exceptional beauty and history are preserved. However, the problem with large ecclesiastical buildings in city centres is that the original congregations die, or move to the outskirts, and these buildings are no longer needed, or become a burden to maintain financially.

Many of these buildings were built 'To the Glory of God', but we must always remember that the word 'church' in the Bible actually means the people, or the congregation - not the actual building.

God says in the Bible that He does not dwell in temples made by man.

In the case of Christian churches, many buildings may be beautiful, but when the cost of maintaining them for the use originally intended becomes too much, we can remember that God is more interested in the people than the buildings in which they meet. The 'church' can meet in a tin hut in Millisle, or in someone's front room, as Peter did with the disciples in Capernaum.

COLIN NEVIN

Bangor, Co Down

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