Letheringham Church

The Church of St Mary at Letheringham, Suffolk, used to be much greater and grander than it now is. Once, a wealthy priory, now a humble parish church struggling to muster a congregation. Once, it was entered by a fine brick gatehouse; now one must drive around a farmyard. Its footprint is much smaller than its former incarnation, and the contents within give it the air of a museum rather than a place of worship. Medieval brasses of grim-looking knights stare out, while ornate Elizabethans peer down from their niches.

Much as I liked the historical interest and atmosphere of antiquity, I resolved never to allow Salem Chapel to become like this: backward-looking, in awe of the past, a shadow of its former self. Although chapels’ fortune wax and wane, and evangelical currents ebb as well as flow, I pray that God keeps our lamp stand shining bright. Let the ghosts of yesteryear spook whom they will, let the dust of past generations gather into heaps -but not among us.

"‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:32