This may seem an odd topic coming from an atheist. However, religions intrigue me. They do. And I love the places where worship takes place. I genuinely feel uplifted in places of worship. They are often of astonishing beauty. Sometimes not, though. I live in a small market town with a population of about 8500. Not very big then, is it? But it is home to a quite wondrous number of places of worship. Let’s start where I live and work away, eh?

The Friends’ Meeting Place Friends are the Quakers as we know them. Their meeting place is a Victorian building, looks like an old school. Not an eyesore, just a bit humdrum.

The United Reform Church. The URF are members of the Nonconformists, but to be fair they always build great looking churches. I want to live in the one in Stansted Mountfitchet, the one in the town where I live is an architectural dream. And there’s one in White Roding that has been converted, I’ve been in, and I loved it.

Baptist Chapel. A bit low key, but that’s the Baptists all over since they are also Nonconformist. Looks a bit as if it used to be the local hoosegow. Friendly folks though. I have to say

Roman Catholic. I have no idea who designed this, but I suspect he had another job designing blocks of flats in the old USSR. Hideous. Anglican. A rather pleasing aspect, with a very peaceful graveyard. It also is host to a riverside walk dedicated to the preservation of wildlife.

You can be an atheist and still like churches. The Blue Mosque in Istanbul is a wonder. The Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka is somewhere I feel privileged to have been. I don’t have to believe, I simply have to look.

I forgot to mention that I and some JoHos are on affable terms, but their Hall is dull. The Druids I know, the Wiccan, the couple of Pagans. The world is their place of worship. I like that.

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