Have a question about a church tradition? Woodford Green man publishes answers in debut book

Mark Lewis has written a book about church traditions

Mark Lewis has written a book about church traditions - Credit: Archant

Ever wondered why we have traditions like the Harvest Festival or why oranges are used during Christingle?

In his debut book Days and Rites, author and lay reader Mark Lewis looks at traditions used in the Church.

Mr Lewis, who became a lay reader for the Diocese of Chelmsford in 1998.

He is a freelance artist who specialises in designing church artefacts. He also ministers at St Mary’s Church, High Road, South Woodford, which features in the book.

He said: “People go to church to worship and, as is often quipped, to be ‘hatched, matched and dispatched’, yet these quintessential rites have been adapted in all sorts of ways by parishioners and clergy up and down the country.”

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He said rituals are performed which are quite specific to individual churches which, when viewed collectively, are rich in their variety.

“Many are only known about locally. Some of these liturgical traditions have survived unbroken over many centuries, others have been revived after a break during the 20th century – while yet more continue to be invented.”

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He said he wrote the book to fill a gap in our understanding of national heritage and folklore and to encourage other people to research and record rituals taking place in their church.

Mr Lewis added: “Christingle services originated in Germany in 1747 as a way of educating children on the true meaning of Christmas and Harvest festival has been celebrated in most cultures to give thanks for the first fruits since ancient times.”

• Days and Rites is available in shops for £14.95.

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