The C of E is bustin’ it out with the fakies

Thanks to the BBC we know about this bold initiative:

Skateboard plan for ancient abbey

An 800-year-old Wiltshire abbey is to be turned into a temporary skate park for three days.

Church of England officials plan to clear the pews from Malmesbury Abbey and replace them with skate ramps next February.

The historic abbey will also feature a cafe and live music stage, as part of the plans.

A spokesman said the initiative with Christian Skaters UK was aimed at attracting teenagers into church.

The abbey’s stone floor will be covered with wooden ramps while the huge pillars will be shrouded in padding to protect them.

The abbey was built in 1180 and is the third on the site since the seventh century.

Abbey vicar Reverend Neil Archer said: "Malmesbury Abbey is committed to young people and has employed a full-time youth worker for over six years, so running a youth event for a few days in February is nothing out of the ordinary.

"I think it will be a great experience for the local skating and rollerblading community and parents will probably be pleased that their kids are hanging around in church during half term."     

How many kinds of stupid is this?

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30 Responses to The C of E is bustin’ it out with the fakies

  1. Dwight Longenecker says:

    This isn’t the first incidence of stupidity at Malmesbury. In the Middle Ages, when the place was a Catholic Benedictine Abbey (it is now low church Anglican. I know I used to live just down the road) there was a monk named Eilmer who tried to fly with home made wings by jumping off the tower of the abbey church. You can read about Eilmer here: http://www.eilmer.co.uk/eilmer-biog.htm

  2. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    Fr, could you please not post items like this. I’d simply prefer never to hear about them. Then I can pretend they never happened. Escapism, denial of reality…yes. But good for sanity.

  3. Pater, OSB says:

    When can we have our abbeys back? It is clear the CofE has no use for them. Perhaps we could have a daughter house of Clear Creek or the Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles installed at Malmesbury.

  4. RBrown says:

    This isn’t the first incidence of stupidity at Malmesbury. In the Middle Ages, when the place was a Catholic Benedictine Abbey (it is now low church Anglican. I know I used to live just down the road) there was a monk named Eilmer who tried to fly with home made wings by jumping off the tower of the abbey church. You can read about Eilmer here: http://www.eilmer.co.uk/eilmer-biog.htm
    Comment by Dwight Longenecker

    I take the attempt at flying by Eilmer as a metaphor for the Anglican Church.

  5. Jeff Pinyan says:

    “Please come to church! We’ll entice you for three days with something we won’t permit you to do again, and you’ll love us for it.”

  6. Jayna says:

    This reminds me of Eddie Izzard’s joke about the C of E being the “hobby church” of England.

  7. TJM says:

    This, is too much. Tom

  8. Maynardus says:

    *The Catholic Church in England has a skating bishop*

    Indeed. One must be careful about these things. For several years I have felt if a prejudice was shown in favor of candidates for the episopacy who (amongst other qualifications) have played ice hockey competitively, we might on balance have far better bishops! Consistent with my logic, figure skating ought to be an equally significant disqualifier.

    “Holy Father, this is the terna for the Diocese of Frostbite Falls”

    “Hmm, Father Smith is a wonderful theologian, and Monsignor Jones was a very good rector of the diocesan seminary… Ah, Father Shotsongoalovich played hockey at Igloo State. And it doesn’t look like he was a left-winger! Very good, NEXT!”

  9. Luke says:

    Odd how the focus seems to be entirely on getting them inside the building itself. As if entering the building somehow means that they are attending a religious event. This has been done before with all sorts of events, many not even as ridiculous as iceskating. Every time it is touted as showing that the church is relevant and that kids love it. No, the kids are just there for a movie, or concert or food.

  10. Tim says:

    What a farce, but you can’t make this stuff up. How utterly disgraceful.

    I think it’s about time we start demanding that our churches be returned to their rightful owners. The charade of the CofE has gone on long enough. Not that I endorse the SSPX’s ‘occupation’ of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet in Paris, but perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad thing to reclaim our churches in that style. Perhaps a procession can be organized and the Abbey retaken before the pews are removed. I’d love to see Holy Mass someday celebrated in the church of my baptism, the Boston ‘stump’ (St. Botolph’s, for the uninitiated:) ). Ahhh. One can dream.

  11. Daniel Mitsui says:

    Eilmer of Malmesbury was not stupid. He was an extraordinarily brave and inquisitive fellow, who devised an reasonably effective (you try jumping off a tower, landing 600 feet away, and only breaking two bones) working hang-glider some eight and a half centuries before anyone else in Christendom.

    What sort of nasty historical bias is it that causes us to endlessly drool over Leonardo’s nonsensical, impractical and completely useless sketchbooks, but not to recognize this brave monk as an important pioneer in human aviation?

  12. Sam says:

    Another idea for the graveyard of relevance! How lovely it would be to see the building used for proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins! Skating events will no more bring a person to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, than would visiting a brothel or tavern. Faith comes by hearing the word, not by skating to the sound of a live band!

  13. pelerin says:

    You have to admit Daniel Mitsui has a point – this monk was indeed very brave to try out the wings and it appears (having looked up the link) that he was willing to try again but was stopped by his superior who obviously could see no future in flight!

    Daniel says Elmer only broke two bones. However the information given is that it was one bone in each leg which of course was most unfortunate. He was known as ‘limping Elmer’ after that!

  14. Doug says:

    On my path to Rome I spent a short time in the Episcopal church. During my time there I was astounded that the parish was constantly creating secular themed events in order to entice youth into the church. Dances, skate parties, movie nights, pizza parties, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves. What bothered me was that the parish seemed to feel they needed them to entice the youth into the church.

    Where was their faith in…well…the FAITH to attract the youth on its own? Then I finally got it. The Episcopal church had reduced the liturgy, the most glorious expression of the eternal faith, to a blight. It was a joke. No wonder they thought the faith needed help.

    It was time to leave and so I did.

    The C of E finds itself in a similar position. They are a community of faith. They

  15. Doug says:

    ((…sorry, I was in the midst of editing my comment and I accidentally clicked “Submit”. In any event, here is the rest of my earlier post…))

    …mean well. The skate-park-abbeys are an attempt to be relevant. The sad thing is that they will continue to flounder, and be irrelavent, until they finally realize that the true faith that they are trying to proclaim resides in Rome.

  16. Paladin says:

    Doug wrote:

    The skate-park-abbeys are an attempt to be relevant.

    That’s all too possible… but their idea of “relevant” is almost completely detached from reality–or from any usual dictionary definition, for all that. Since when does “relevant” mean, “it attracts my attention”? Am I truly the only human being who finds his attention distracted relentlessly by things that are almost completely irrelevant? Honestly…

  17. Malta says:

    Since the C of E was founded by a gouty wife-killer, is it any wonder that it turns the edifices, taken from the likes of Edmund Campion, into skate parks?

  18. RBrown says:

    Where was their faith in…well…the FAITH to attract the youth on its own? Then I finally got it. The Episcopal church had reduced the liturgy, the most glorious expression of the eternal faith, to a blight. It was a joke. No wonder they thought the faith needed help.

    It was time to leave and so I did.

    The C of E finds itself in a similar position. They are a community of faith. They mean well. The skate-park-abbeys are an attempt to be relevant. The sad thing is that they will continue to flounder, and be irrelavent, until they finally realize that the true faith that they are trying to proclaim resides in Rome.
    Comment by Doug

    Your experience is typical of what has happened in main line Protestant Churches–including the Episcopal Church, which for centuries retained the Catholic and Orthodox concept of liturgical prayer.

    The act of faith in Protestantism is subjective. It is related only to Scripture and is not supported by the authority of the Church or acts of reason by which certain matters of faith (e.g., morality, the existence of God, the existence and immortality of the human soul) can also be known. (IMHO, Anglicanism was grounded in British culture–when that changed, the bottom dropped out.)

    During the past century certain Historical-Critical Scripture scholars relieved Protestants of “the burden” of Scripture. And so, what is now left is faith without any necessary object–neither the existence of God, nor the Christian Mysteries, nor morality. It is a vague faith that is ignorant of what it believes.

    The vertical dimension (relationship with God) having atrophied, what is left is the horizontal components of human achievement and the Community of Man philosophy.

  19. RBrown says:

    Since the C of E was founded by a gouty wife-killer, is it any wonder that it turns the edifices, taken from the likes of Edmund Campion, into skate parks?
    Comment by Malta

    Strictly speaking, it was founded by the daughter of the aforementioned gouty wife killer.

  20. Maureen says:

    It’s a historical building, not being used for its zoned purpose. Where’s the insurance company? Where’s the National Trust or whatever takes care of historical buildings?

    Of course, what I’d love is if the skateboarders went, but refused to skate or be entertained. They could occupy the place. :)

  21. Matthew K says:

    These skaters are not holy rollers, are they?

  22. Charivari Rob says:

    I need some help!

    I read the article aloud to my wife, and she won’t stop laughing! I mean, she quieted down after a few minutes, but the bit about Eilmer the monk set her off again!

    What should I do – get her to breathe into a paper sack?

    Father Z., can you put up a link to something torporific, please, so I can settle her down?

  23. Coletta says:

    I’ve become suspicious of the use of the term “initiative”

  24. Alice says:

    I go to Malmesbury Abbey and have helped run the skate park. However the media report it the aim was to continue to show the young people of our community, who we serve, the love of God. We have welcomed hundreds of young people into our beautiful Church building and showed them hospitality for Jesus sake and God’s glory. They have had a wonderful time and been truly blessed. We have built even stronger friendships with our community who hold the Church in high regard. The building has been entirely protected and there is no damage at all – by midnight tonight you would not know the park had been there – except for the profound blessing and sense of Joy and community that will remain – and the hundreds of children who will feel welcomed and cared for by followers of Jesus.

  25. Alice says:

    … and by the way, there have not been pews in Malmesbury Abbey for 150 years.

  26. Alice says:

    … one final post – we took the park down last night – not a scratch on the Abbey. To answer two points above – we already have many large, thriving young groups, this wasn’t about enticing youth in, it was about showing all sections of our community that God loves them equally and they can feel at home in his Church. This was not a secular event – testimonies were shared, talks given and Christian music performed. Many heard about Jesus and I ask you all to please pray for them, thank you.

  27. supertradmom says:

    Have we forgotten that all consecrated churches belong to God and not us? We are merely stewards of these venerable edifices. Obviously, those who plan such banal things do not believe in the True Presence, as the very stones have been made sacred by centuries of Masses. This all reminds me of a phrase we used to say in England about the “True Absence” in the Anglican liturgy. Sad and scandalous.

  28. supertradmom says:

    I just watched the video. On top of the horrible skating in the nave, at least one youth was eating fish and chips behind the person who organized all of this.

    Why do we make teens something other than people? Why must we treat them like some precious species, when in reality they are just young people who have the potential for adult faith?