Things We Don’t Do In Church Anymore

Courtesy of Benjamin Kaplan, from Divided by Faith, who writes:

Churches were also practical structures. Not just places of worship, they were communal property with myriad uses.

Which, citing a study of churches in post-Reformation England, included:

In 1612 at Woburn, the curate baited a bear in church; 25 years later, also in Bedfordshire, there were cockfightings on three successive Shrove Tuesdays in Knottingly church, round the communion table. The minister and churchwardens were also present.

And for the poor pastor who needed some extra to make ends meet:

Gendulphus van Schagen, the impoverished pastor of Laar, a Flemish village, grew vegetables and raised hens, pigs, and doves in his churchyard. Parishioners complained to the archbishop only after his doves hit them with droppings during services and his hens laid eggs on the church’s altars.

Bear baiting and cockfighting! Around the altar! Now there’s a project for an enterprising pastoral intern!