Spiritual Death at the Heart of Blackburn & One Lively Grave

I had a wander about Blackburn last week. The town stank of spiritual death.

I came across a new building belonging to the Spiritualist Church. This organisation claims to contact spirits of the dead. I believe it communes instead with evil spirits. The place reeks of spiritual death.

Immediately opposite was St Anne’s Catholic Church. Although church-going Catholics have a genuine piety, their prayers to dead saints and intercessions for the dead in purgatory are not wildly different to the Spiritists across the road. Spiritual death.

Further down the same road I came across the ruins of a church. The steeple survived, but the nave is long gone. In fact it was Chapel Street Congregational Church like my own. It’s now a ruin, with its nearby Sunday School building vandalised and broken. 

It had evidently been turned into a children’s nursey once upon a time, but its grounds are now full of rubbish and used hypodermic needles. Spiritual death.

Even the graves in its grounds lay desecrated.


Next to it is the Salvation Army, an organisation I admire. Yet it currently seems preoccupied with social work rather than the gospel, contrary to William Booth’s vision which beautifully married the two.


Opposite was an Islamic Funeral Parlour. Muslims, like Catholics, are sincere pious people, trying their best to please God. But God without Christ cannot be approached, and death without Him is spiritual death indeed.


Around the corner, I espied three more ex-churches. One was now flats, one a garage and the other a betting shop/snooker parlour which in turn appeared to have shut down. Spiritual death.


My little tour ended at the Co-operative Funeral Care. More death.


Of course, I must not be morose. Blackburn is in many respects a thriving town, and there are some good churches therein. However, there’s more to being a human than having a body and a big bank account. We are spiritual beings who live forever. I pray to God that He will bless the evangelical witness there is in Blackburn. When the darkness is deep, gospel light is all the brighter.

In the old Congregational chapel's grounds, I espied a grand old monument, upon which was written:

‘He was an earnest protestant who sought to combine the expression of catholic [ie universal] charity with the maintenance evangelical truth. He died expressing good will towards all men and trusting in the merits of Christ alone for salvation’.

-a little glimmer of truth in this dark district.