Open for worship

July 22, 2020

What new places will you visit?

You, like me, may have experienced a sense of adventure and curiosity as the country continues to open up after its forced hibernation – what places shall we go and visit? Being cooped up for so long we’re ready to explore.

I will be hitting the back roads of Wales this summer (with most of the country sounding like they’re off to Cornwall). Let us know what places you plan to visit.

Talking of Wales, this weekend the devolved government decided it would open its places of worship again for up to 30 people. The late Welsh revivalist, Robert Evans, would be happy! Who knows, maybe I will pop into a church or two.

Some would say that’s not a bad idea. Not just because faith in something beyond the physical has helped numerous people up and down this country get through lockdown (see our blog on this here) but because of its other benefits.

Other benefits?

I’m always a little sceptical on postulations that religious belief or regular worship have some almost magical benefit. The cynic makes me question who’s really benefitting? So I decided to check out what these benefits were and whether they are legitimate.

My discoveries increased the probability of that trip to the pews of some local Welsh church. Turns out that I might be happier for it. The well-known Pew Research Centre continues to find that people who are active in congregations (religious meetings) are happier for it. And it’s not just religious people who are doing the research.

With no bias, “recently, scholars have applied more scientific rigour to their research on religion, and many of the studies that have been published in the past 30 years have found that religious people tend to live longer, get sick less often and are better able to cope with stress.”[1]

So maybe as we exercise this new-found curiosity to visit places we’ve never been before, maybe it’s worth checking out that local church we always walk by. Or go with that friend who has given us that awkward invitation to their faith community.

Who knows, in the long run we might be happier for it.

Richard Fowler

Richard is editorial assistant at Because


Something Worth Celebrating

February 12, 2016

dreamstime_m_26755179This week my inbox has been inundated with Valentine messages. Now if you run off with the idea that I have hundreds of secret admirers all sending me messages of their undying affection, you would be sadly mistaken.

All the messages I’ve received have been enticing me to do something for Valentine’s Day: Buy a dozen red roses and get a box of chocolates thrown in, book a table at an expensive restaurant, or take a weekend break at a 5 star hotel.

Am I the only one that thinks Valentine’s Day is just a commercial hype to get me to spend money, or am I being terribly unromantic?

Do we need a day set aside in the year where we show someone how much we love them, or is it all a bit too contrived?

It’s true that there was a particular day when God demonstrated how much he loved us when his Son was crucified; but it is also true that God shows us his unfailing love each and every day.

There are particular times, such as a wedding anniversary, when we will want show our love, but it’s in the little things that we do for one another each and every day that the full expression of our love can be shown.

I hope you have a very happy week ahead showing love to all you come into contact with; now that would be worth celebrating.

Barry Robinson