In our new series, agony uncle Justin Welby answers your questions.
Questions should be addressed to:
The Most Reverend, the Archbishop of Canterbury,
London SE1 7JU
Our neighbours take their children with them to church every Sunday. My wife thinks this is little short of cruel, and that the little ones should have a normal upbringing. What can we do to help?
John, Hither Green.
I don’t want to alarm you, but your neighbours may be Roman Catholics, or from a foreign country, or both – which would explain their eccentric behaviour. But if this is not the case, then I think your wife is right. If the children are to grow up to behave normally in adult life they need a good example from early years.
Try inviting the whole family, along with your own children, to a Sunday picnic at an adjacent National Trust property. After all, ‘you are closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth’.
A few Sundays of healthy outdoor exercise and I am sure your neighbours will revert to normal church-going patterns – baptisms, weddings, funerals, nativity plays, carol services and the like.
If this does not help, I am sure your local friendly Vicar will have further suggestions. Always remember that the Church of England has a presence in every neighbourhood.