Better toilets will save the church, says TV newsreader

Fri 12 Dec 2014
By Aaron James

The Ten O'Clock newsreader and television presenter Huw Edwards has urged churches to focus more on their toilets, calling them "essential to the long term survival of many of our nation's finest."

In an interview with The Lady, he said good toilets are "essential for churches wanting to increase use by the wider community", and that they "allow churches to be more welcoming to worshippers, especially those with young children, and to people attending weddings or Christenings."

The toilets at Wesley Chapel, in East London, contribute to it's status as a World Heritage site.
They're made of cedarwood, and they also have highly decorated urinals.

Wesley Chapel minister, Revd Dr Lesley Griffiths, told Premier: "Churches are about some pretty down to earth things, and there's nothing more down to Earth than the need to go to the toilet.

"If that need can't be fulfilled, the finest preaching in the world doesn't count for very much.

"We're approaching Christmas. Christmas is about the incarnation, and the incarnation's about God taking the world seriously enough to come into it.

"One way of showing how serious we are about the world - the real world, the world in which we live and breathe and sweat and die, is to have good toilet facilities, for goodness sake.

"I think it's absolutely core business. There are people who come just to see the toilets. You'd think they'd want to see the pulpit, or the baptismal font, or the place where thousands got converted.

"I happen to know Huw; he and I are very close friends. I'm not at all suprised [he raised this issue].

"The great thing about Huw is that his religion is rooted in the ground we walk on. I love the way that the finest and noblest doctrines relating to our salvation are preached to ordinary people who have pretty ordinary needs.

"We ought to be as careful in attending to the needs of the body as we are to the needs of the soul. We are to love God after all with all our strength - not much strength if you need to go and can't."

Half of all Anglican churches across the country don't have a working toilet, according to the National Churches Trust, which funds church repairs in the UK.

For the third year in a row, funding applications for installing or upgrading toilets topped all other financial requests.

Revd Dr Lesley Griffiths, Wesley Chapel:

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