Polish dance, stillness and bellringing on offer at Hereford's Night of the Churches

Published 30 August 2013  |  

Tower Captain, Edric Broom among the bells of St Peter's Edgmond

Churches in Hereford are putting on a special night programme inspired by the Nacht der Kirchen in the German city of Nuremberg.

The events are being planned for September 13 to mark the launch of the Festival of Churches taking place across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

More than 250 churches are throwing their doors open for the festival, putting on a wide range of activities from bellringing, talks, concerts, guided tours and craft fairs.

Seven Hereford churches will take part in the Night of the Churches, opening their doors from 7pm to midnight.

The activities on offer range from silence and stillness at a Quaker meeting place, to a loud brass brand performance and drama at St John's Methodist church.

All Saints will be holding a bellringing session and Messy Church for children. Visitors to Hereford Cathedral will be able to experience the magic of a candlelit tour of the shrines, while St Francis Xavier's Roman Catholic church will be holding a traditional Latin Mass.

"It's an idea based on Nacht der Kirchen in Nuremberg, which the Anglican churches locally are twinned with," said the Reverend David Meachem, minister at St John's Methodist Church.

"We thought we could do something similar here especially as the churches involved are all within walking distance of each other and each is offering something different."

Hereford Baptist church will be starting off with children's activities before an hour of Polish food, music, dance and culture from 9:30pm until 10:30pm, when there will be a programme of live music and a barbecue until midnight.

"The churches are open to everyone and you do not have to be a churchgoer to walk through any of the doors," Meachem continued.

"You can experience quiet space, meditation on one hand with loud music and lively goings on at other venues."

The Festival of churches runs over the weekend of September 14 and 15 and bellringing is set to be a major feature of the programmes on at seven of the participating churches.

In Edgmond, near Newport in Shropshire, visitors to St Peter's Church will be able to climb up the bell chamber to see the bells up close.

The church dates back to 1080 and the existing building is 14th century with a Saxon font and stained glass windows by William Morris.

"Lots of people fancy the idea of pulling on a bell rope and making a very loud noise," said Anni Holden, spokesperson for the Festival of Churches.

"I think bell ringing also represents some part of a long heritage and is still the same simple process it has always been – it takes you back to basics."

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