Get on your bike and visit local churches

David Farey SUS-151105-131625001
David Farey SUS-151105-131625001

The second Saturday in September has become known nationally as Ride and Stride Saturday.

Locally run by the Sussex Historic Churches Trust, this event encourages people to get on their bikes or walking shoes and travel to as many churches as possible in the day.

It might have been stretching the rules but some years ago I even went round some churches on horseback!

People get sponsored according to the number of churches they visit or visitors they sign in.

It raises money for our old and expensive-to-maintain buildings, but also encourages people to explore churches.

So many of our churches have to be kept locked for security, so it is a chance for people who do not normally go to church to explore a vital part of our historical heritage.

Sadly the numbers participating in this event have been sinking lower over the years.

It is a pity as it can be good fun, especially on a balmy day in September.

Our centuries-old churches are repositories of spiritual energy and power, but are also marvellous historical and architectural treasures.

Even those with no interest in faith can get something out of visiting an old church.

They are essential elements of our culture and it is important that we do what we can to maintain them.

The Ride and Stride event is one way.

Another way is to do what we have at Hellingly and a few other churches which is to form a Friends group.

Their sole function is to raise funds for the maintenance of the building and nothing goes towards the ministry or spiritual aspect of the church.

It is very much for those who appreciate the buildings simply for what they are but want nothing to do with the religious part.

To me they miss the best bit but if they can help support the church then I am all for it!

So whether its striding the lanes of Sussex or holding a dignified wine and cheese evening there are plenty of ways to ensure our churches are there for future generations!