Gransnet forums


cliques in churches

(77 Posts)
red1 Sat 03-Sep-22 15:51:26

I,ve been aware for too long the backbiting etc that goes on in parish churches.I used to bury my head and try and be pleasant to all,even the vicar! Over the past year ,ive found myself drawn into gossip, which i feel really bad about, so much so that ive decided to leave christianity for good. someone reminded me recently ,'lots of peple go to church, but there aint many christians there' I guess that ive been naive to think that people can behave like christians while in church,even just for an hour a week.It does sadden me ,but i'm going onwards with a faith in myself and also a vague sense in goodness both within and without, thanks for reading my rant!

Prentice Sat 03-Sep-22 15:55:00

so sorry to hear this, but yes, there are cliques in church, as in many other places, humans being humans.
you could try a new church?
nobody needs to be in a church to pray though, or to think any spiritual thoughts or to do good.

Witzend Sat 03-Sep-22 16:17:18

I dare say it’s a ‘people’ thing, rather than a ‘church’ thing. FWIW a SiL of mine, who had a very senior volunteer role with a local animal charity, eventually had to leave, because of the amount of bitching and backstabbing among the volunteers.

A Dbro had something very similar - again a voluntary role into which he’d put a huge amount of time, after he retired.

An aunt of mine is a very ‘churchy’ type but to me is a totally un-Christian woman - extremely judgemental and openly - loudly - critical of other people. One of the many reasons I avoid her as far as possible is because she told me that it was my mother’s own fault that she got dementia. ‘If she’d been more like the sprightly 91 year olds at my church…’. All in that brisk, I know best about everything, tone.

OTOH the cleaning lady my mother had for many years, including after she developed dementia, was also a devout churchgoer and was a genuinely good, extremely kind-hearted person. TBH I don’t know what on earth we’d have done without her.
Good and bad, nice and not-nice everywhere, I’m afraid.

grandMattie Sat 03-Sep-22 16:27:05

Don’t leave Christianity. It’s not the religion that’s wrong, it’s the people practicing it (or not)!
Change churches by all means. But I think that you will find that people are people, will generally gather into “select” groups. You’ll find that everywhere whether it’s the WI, the Rotary club, a golf club or absolutely anywhere where people mass together in some sort of cohesive group.

Judy54 Sat 03-Sep-22 16:35:15

It is sad to think that you want to leave Christianity because of your experience in a particular church. I encourage you to try another church where the congregation are more welcoming. We belong to our lovely village church where we received a warm welcome from everyone including the Vicar and we could not be happier. Please don't give up I am sure their is another church for you where you will find love and kindness.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 03-Sep-22 17:24:04

You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian. I have had exactly the same experience as you and no longer go to church as I don’t like cliques, but I pray every day and consider myself a Christian. For some going to church is little more than habit and a social occasion, an opportunity to be seen and to gossip.

timetogo2016 Sat 03-Sep-22 17:32:21

I have found the biggest hypocrits are church goers.
They do have their cliques thats for sure until you start to agree with them and join the holier than through being a member of the cliques.
As someone has said,you don`t need to go to church to be a christian.
Find another church and keep away from those sorts.

Yammy Sat 03-Sep-22 17:50:55

There are cliques in all churches,and all forms of Christianity or any other religion.
When I came to our village I was asked if I was Cof E and replied no which I thought was enough. I was then given a list of why I should join and asked if I was "A left footer', which I found deeply disrespectful not for myself but for people who were.
I was pressed and in the end, said I was non-Conformist and staying so. There is no chapel and I can quietly reflect in my own home as easily if not more so in a place where people are arguing over flower and coffee rotas.
You do not have to give up your faith because others are not practising it in a very Christian way.

Septimia Sat 03-Sep-22 18:48:19

As others have said, there are cliques in all sorts of places.

I hope our village church isn't cliquey, but some people might think that we're a group apart. However, we do try hard not to be like that and to be a community-friendly group. We try to welcome anyone who comes to our services and to involve people who don't necessarily come to church in other events.

I think you've been unfortunate and would say that you can still be a Christian without going to church. It's about the way you behave not about attending services (which some of the people you met at church obviously don't realise!).

Beautful Sat 03-Sep-22 18:59:46

Yes I am a Christian go to church every week , sometimes I have a moan to my daughter about certain situations ... so true what she says ... most unchristian people are Christians themselves ... saying that ... I try to be a Christian everyday not only of a Sunday when in Church ... saying that I am not perfect myself ... after saying that ... don't give up on your Christian faith , could try other churches ... if any one new comes to our church I made an effort after the meeting ( before if I have time) to speak to them & say we have tea/coffee & biscuits & they are welcome saying that not all people are comfortable in speaking to someone new ... so try other places of Christian worship ... God bless

MerylStreep Sat 03-Sep-22 19:11:20

Two of my closest friends are Church going Christian’s.
One is the loveliest person you could wish to meet.
The other one: well, some of her attitudes towards benefit claimants is sooo bad we have to laugh.

MissAdventure Sat 03-Sep-22 19:45:26

My daughter's neighbour was an older woman, who was kind and gentle, peaceful, and very involved in church activities.
My daughter really took to her.

Then, while my girl was sitting out in the garden, her neighbour was visited by a church friend and they came out into next doors garden.

My daughter was really, really shocked by the things they were saying, and ended up coming round to me almost in tears, because she couldn't believe how spiteful they were being about other members.

red1 Sat 03-Sep-22 20:34:13

many thanks for your kind, thoughtful replies, my leaving christianity is not because of this event, it has been a long process,this is the final piece of the puzzle. I know i can return to it, but i very much doubt it. Very difficult to find a group of people who don't have splits,politicing etc.i will continue to seek 'the great spirit/god or whatever,in my own personal way,it just wont be in the confines of christian religions.thanks again.Wouldn't it be nice if we could all walk each other home!

Ladyleftfieldlover Sat 03-Sep-22 20:50:43

I attended our local village church for over 30 years and all three children were baptised there. Then a new vicar arrived. I gave him nearly three years and then sent him a kindly worded email explaining why I was leaving and also resigning from the PCC. It wasn’t just him (his thoughts on various liberal matters were too far to the right for me) but there were half a dozen or so members of the congregation who were ‘love the sinner hate the sin’ people. One of them accused me of being an unfit mother for allowing my daughter to study comparative religion at University! Well, I now go to a church outside of my village. It is a Benefice of several churches. It is taking a while but I am getting there. I do wish I could still go the church I can see from my landing window and which is a 5-minute walk. I have to drive to my new churches…

welbeck Sat 03-Sep-22 20:51:24

the great dr spurgeon, preacher at the metropolitan tabernacle, near the elephant, south london, used to say:
if you are looking for the perfect church to join, don't, as it will cease to be so as soon as you join.

Floradora9 Sat 03-Sep-22 21:05:03

One of the things that lead me to leaving the church of Scotland was the attitude of the minister. He had no time for members of his congregation who did not , in his eye, pull their weight in running and funding the church . He never took into account the members who quietly did good works elsewhere like my DH who was a Samaritan . I felt this man ran the church like it was Marks and Spencers. I had looked forward to joining this church when we moved miles away from the one I was a member of for years which was a bit old fashioned and run on a shoestring. In the end I really missed the friendship and camaraderie of the old one.

MissAdventure Sat 03-Sep-22 21:07:19

There is a second part to the tale of my girls neighbour story.

The lady was completely blind and had a guide dog.
The dog grew old and died, and it literally totally devastated the womans life and meant she really could no longer go anywhere really.

She was given a young dog, but they didnt match up well, again, leaving her with an existence rather than any kind of life.

One day she knocked at my daughters door and fell into her arms, crying.
She said that not one of the church members had been in touch, or asked her if she needed help, or fancied a visitor, even.
They had totally abandoned her and moved on.

nanna8 Sun 04-Sep-22 12:50:12

There’s churches and there’s churches. Some are not Christian at all , more like social clubs with little pastoral care. They get the genuine , caring congregations a bad name. Many are not Bible centred at all, they make it up as they go along and try to be all things to all people. Compromise but not in a good way.
I am going on my experiences here where I live but I wouldn’t be surprised if the same applies in many areas.

MissAdventure Sun 04-Sep-22 13:05:25

Our local vicar jokes during his sermons.
"Yes, Maud, don't worry, I'm getting round to you, so you'll be invited!^ and that kind of thing.
"And now, we shall sing all things bright and beautiful, but in a totally different version of the tune than the one you are used to, and prefer". smile

JaneJudge Sun 04-Sep-22 13:11:43

we broke down outside a church on a sunday and not one person offered to help us. we were tutted and scolded!

Calendargirl Sun 04-Sep-22 13:20:19

‘ The Perfect Church’.

I think that I shall never see
A church that’s all it ought to be.
A church whose members never stray
Beyond the straight and narrow way.
A church that has no empty pews
Whose preacher never has the blues;
A church whose deacons always ‘deac’
And none is proud, and all are meek.
Where gossips never peddle lies
Or make complaints or criticise.
Where all are always sweet and kind
And all to others faults are blind.
Such perfect churches there may be
But none of them are known to me.
But still we’ll work and pray and plan
To make this one the best we can.

Read this out at a service once at our church.
Someone said ‘Well done, very true!’

lemsip Sun 04-Sep-22 13:59:46

How do you 'behave like christians' ?
Being good honourable kind to others is what most of us are, I believe.
doesn't make you a Christian. For that you have to profess a belief and faith in God, don't you?

yes, I went to a church this morning. an occasional visitor to different ones... looking for friendship.

Squiffy Sun 04-Sep-22 15:36:39


There is a second part to the tale of my girls neighbour story.

The lady was completely blind and had a guide dog.
The dog grew old and died, and it literally totally devastated the womans life and meant she really could no longer go anywhere really.

She was given a young dog, but they didnt match up well, again, leaving her with an existence rather than any kind of life.

One day she knocked at my daughters door and fell into her arms, crying.
She said that not one of the church members had been in touch, or asked her if she needed help, or fancied a visitor, even.
They had totally abandoned her and moved on.

This is pretty much what happened to my Aunt. She’d attended the same church for over forty years and been very generous donation-wise. When age frailty meant that she could no longer get there, not one single parishioner offered her a lift or phoned or visited her.

Funnily enough, when a couple of J Witnesses rang her doorbell and she told them that she wasn’t interested, they didn’t push it, but offered to just have a chat with her. They all got on so well that they called regularly to sit and have a cup of tea and chat with her and continued to do so for years. She never did sign up with JW and they never expected her to.

Smileless2012 Sun 04-Sep-22 15:48:21

That's lovely Calendargirl.

ExDancer Sun 04-Sep-22 15:58:24

Thats why I stopped attending our village church, well 'that' and the stupid practise of shaking hands and saying the utterly ridiculous phrase of "peace be with you" (who thought that one up?).