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Old 01.02.2013, 15:44
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Is it polite to walk into a Church

Hey everyone,

To start, I am not a christian and do not speak german.

The churches in europe are so pretty. I want to see them from the inside. Just to see them.

However, I am afraid of offending the religious sentiments of anyone and hence have never really entered any (except the tourist ones where you buy a ticket and go in).

Can someone tell me if it is polite to just walk into a church and take a look? I am not planning on taking any pictures or going in a group.

Also will appreciate any tips for such a visit.
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Old 01.02.2013, 15:46
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

As long as there isn't a funeral in progress, it's fine.

Tom
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Old 01.02.2013, 15:47
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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As long as there isn't a funeral in progress, it's fine.

Tom
Most days, its fine. Obviously, showing up between 10-11 on a Sunday would be bad, but most cathedrals expect and are prepared for tourists.
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:03
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

It is indeed very common to go visit churches. There's no problem with it as long as you don't disrupt a mass going on.

Oh, and in a Catholic Church you're not allowed to go on the pulpit area where the priests stand to read the bible. But there's usually a little rope circling the forbidden part to keep you off. You can go wherever you want in a Protestant church.
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:10
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

Most churches have information regarding opening hours etc. near the entrance. Some churches deposit a key to enter nearby in a shop etc. If available you will find the information on or right beside the door. If they are part of the "offene Kirchentüren" Initiative the Information is probably written on a big wooden key.

If the church is open and there is no mass, wedding or funeral just enter. People working for the church are required to let visitors feeling welcome. This is normally the case but there are also some fanatics out there.

List of churches which are part of the initiative "offene Kirchentüren" in
eastern Switzerland:

http://www.sek-feps.ch/de/themen/off...en-der-schweiz

This information is provided by your friendly forum atheist.
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:18
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

Absolutely you can go in, just be respectful. In a nutshell:

- Don't visit during official functions (as others have said)
- Wipe your shoes at the door
- Leave umbrella near the entrance if you can
- Wear appropriate attire (don't show up in your speedos)
- Turn your cell ringer down and don't talk on it while inside
- You can usually take pictures, but most places request to turn the flash off
- Talk quietly
- You can sit down on the pews to rest and look around, just stay out of cordoned-off areas

I know some of this seems super obvious, but if you don't visit churches often it can be handy. Enjoy your visits. There are a lot of beautiful churches in CH.
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:31
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

Clergy and church staff the world over are more often than not very happy to greet visitors and explain the church to them and point things out to you that you probably wouldn't have seen for yourself. The mainstream churches such as catholics and protestants are not like many baptists, mormons etc in that they they're not out to try and convert you at every opportunity but can respect and understand you're just interested in the art, history or whatever.

I always visit churches when I have time when I'm in a new city and have learnt a lot and met some wonderful people, and have also quite a collection of photographs of church architecture. If the admission was free, I normally leave a donation as a mark of gratitude and to help conserve and restore these treasures so others can enjoy them too.
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:32
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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Absolutely you can go in, just be respectful. In a nutshell:

- Don't visit during official functions (as others have said)
- Wipe your shoes at the door
- Leave umbrella near the entrance if you can
- Wear appropriate attire (don't show up in your speedos)
- Turn your cell ringer down and don't talk on it while inside
- You can usually take pictures, but most places request to turn the flash off
- Talk quietly
- You can sit down on the pews to rest and look around, just stay out of cordoned-off areas
Excellent list, it is best to remove your hat also when entering a church (if you're a man).
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:38
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

You are more welcome. Be it as visitor interested in an different culture, as some one interested in art, or architecture, in history, or be it someone who just looks for a quite place to mediate.

PS: "Durchgehend" in prof. taratonga nice list means 24 h/7 days. So, who was complaining about Swiss opening hours?
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:50
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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Absolutely you can go in, just be respectful. In a nutshell:

- Don't visit during official functions (as others have said)
- Wipe your shoes at the door
- Leave umbrella near the entrance if you can
- Wear appropriate attire (don't show up in your speedos)
- Turn your cell ringer down and don't talk on it while inside
- You can usually take pictures, but most places request to turn the flash off
- Talk quietly
- You can sit down on the pews to rest and look around, just stay out of cordoned-off areas

I know some of this seems super obvious, but if you don't visit churches often it can be handy. Enjoy your visits. There are a lot of beautiful churches in CH.
take off your hat!
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Old 01.02.2013, 16:58
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

Yes, but please try to avoid sacrificing virgins on the altar. Someone might object.
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Old 01.02.2013, 17:04
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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Hey everyone,

To start, I am not a christian and do not speak german.

The churches in europe are so pretty. I want to see them from the inside. Just to see them.

However, I am afraid of offending the religious sentiments of anyone and hence have never really entered any (except the tourist ones where you buy a ticket and go in).

Can someone tell me if it is polite to just walk into a church and take a look? I am not planning on taking any pictures or going in a group.

Also will appreciate any tips for such a visit.
Most downtown churches of all denominations, right at the entrance, have info material in various languages for tourists ready
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Old 01.02.2013, 17:42
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

Amazing. All positive responses!

Here I was thiking that I would get a nice bashing (in german) if I intruded in a space considered sacred.

All the tips are really helpful. Its time that I plan a Church visit now.
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Old 01.02.2013, 17:49
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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The mainstream churches such as catholics and protestants are not like many baptists, mormons etc in that they they're not out to try and convert you at every opportunity
This reminds me of the time that I got a handwritten letter -personally addressed to me- asking for conversion. The letter said that they had tried to reach me multiple times at my home but I was probably at work.
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Old 01.02.2013, 17:54
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

The monastary in Einsiedeln is worth visiting for its beauty.

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Old 01.02.2013, 18:09
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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Yes, but please try to avoid sacrificing virgins on the altar. Someone might object.
The guy is in Basel, might have to look around for a while for a virgin.
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Old 01.02.2013, 18:10
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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The monastary in Einsiedeln is worth visiting for its beauty.

Very beautiful is the big Catholic church of Lachen
http://www.kirchelachen.ch/


I remember that, thanks to the tolerant Catholic reverends, there was a Protestant marriage done by a Protestant LADY-reverend from Zürich. We were greeted by one of the local reverends who explained that they for this service had even "temporarily re-decorated" their church . Background was that the new wife was Protestant but the husband was out of a Catholic Italian family (his father a semi-atheist communist). He had seen this church and was impressed. The pair told the lady-reverend in Zürich about all this and she contacted the chaps in Lachen and the arrangements went ahead. But there was quite some irritation among relatives of the wife who were fiercely anti-Catholic. One of them looked at me and dryly said " you of course are from the side of Aurelio and find it normal but we object" I told him calmly that the reverend was a lady and so the service was Protestant as a lady-reverend cannot do a Catholic service and that he ought to relax. Well, also "Messrs Super-Protestant" in the end liked the place and the arrangement


Here
http://www.google.ch/search?q=Fraum%...w=1024&bih=558
the famous Chagall windows of the Fraumünster in Zürich

and here the old Romanesque St. Peter in Zürich



and here the old Church of Wollishofen




and here the Tower of the new large church plus the Secondary School schoolhouse Hans Asper


Last edited by Wollishofener; 01.02.2013 at 18:42.
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Old 01.02.2013, 19:32
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

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Yes, but please try to avoid sacrificing virgins on the altar. Someone might object.
Where do you find theme ?



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Amazing. All positive responses!

Here I was thiking that I would get a nice bashing (in german) if I intruded in a space considered sacred.



All the tips are really helpful. Its time that I plan a Church visit now.
This can be arranged


And don`t chew gum someone will think your a ami "Re Borne Christian"
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Old 01.02.2013, 20:56
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

And you can certainly go during mass too, just you can't actually walk around and visit that's all.
If a mass has started you can attend and nobody will ever object or ask you why you're there.
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Old 01.02.2013, 21:56
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Re: Is it polite to walk into a Church

Sure you can enter churches and cathedrals. I do it all the time. Some of them still don't seem to have broken even yet though despite being built in medieval times, they still charge a small fortune for entry. Funny thing that, for all the wonderful things that God is meant to do, He doesn't seem to be much good at controlling His finances.

GBP 15 to get into St.Pauls Cathedral in London. Nice.
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