Commenting on the last post, Still Breathing said
"The building should be there to further God's Kingdom which, of course, includes worship but it is a tool rather than an end product. Having said that just being there can, in itself, further God's Kingdom by being a visible sign of His presence"
and to that I'd want to say a huge Amen.
My experience is, always, that this is one of the major benefits of having a church building at all - and it is why I remain determined that such buildings should always be open, even if that means that their contents are stripped right down, to ensure that nothing vital goes astray.
When I was living and worshipping in the rural North Cotswolds, it seemed very clear that if a church were to close, there would be a general feeling that God was moving out of the village.
In a more urban context, it's harder to defend the concentration of church buildings, - though I'd argue that there is still quite a strong sense of place in more working class communities, so that the closure of a church building might well be a real bereavement, even for those who rarely cross the threshold.
I don't see any easy solution. The buildings both hold us back and offer us unique opportunities to offer Christian hospitality, so I continue to love them and wish they would miraculously disappear (without any hurt to those who love them).
It's imponderable, really - but it seems to me that all church buildings run the risk that confronted Peter on the mountain of the Transfiguration - that because they are places where we sometimes encounter God, they become in some troubling way almost a substitute for the encounter.
I found that I'd written about this some years ago, while still a shiny new curate. I don't think I've found a solution since....so I'd better head off to put the church to bed now.
Someone has to look after the building!