I’m not a religious person, but do enjoy visiting churches and learning of their history. Whether you are a believer or a non-believer there is something special in the atmosphere of a church.
A week before Christmas I visited Dewsbury Minster, which dates back to AD 627 for a carol concert to raise funds for Mirfield Salvation Army band, One Community, Kirkwood Hospice, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and Asthma UK. There were also short reading and reflections on the meaning of Christmas.
On arriving at the Minster I was handed a ‘Bethlehem Carol Sheet’ which supports Biblelands, a charity that seeks to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the Middle East. They do this in partnership with the local Christians, focussing on education, health care and community development. I was pleased that the carol sheet contained two of my favourite hymns, Silent Night and In The Bleak Midwinter.
John Wilson, a former newspaper editor, who now trains young journalists, told the congregation of his love for Charles Dickens and his book A Christmas Carol, which he reads every December, It was also a favourite of mine,
Dickens’ book highlights crime, diseases and misery in England which was prevalent at the time. Dickens believed the employers and employed should come together and share a mutual duty and responsibility in tackling poverty.
As we enter 2014 and the increasing use of food banks, it is clear we still have a long way to go.