Reading in the county of Berkshire UK located at the confluence of the River Thames and River Kennet has roots going back to the 8th century. Modern day Reading not only supports an ethnically diverse population but a population with diversity in its Christian belief as well. This has given rise to a plethora of churches and houses of worship for every possible Christian denomination and ethnic group.
The oldest church in town is Reading Minster, constructed in the 9th century. It was eclipsed as a religious centre by the Abbey which was a main pilgrimage site in medieval England. Reading Minster regained its due place after the demolition of the abbey in the 16th century. Three parish churches that served the medieval borough of Reading, Reading Minster, St Giles and St Laurence are being used by the Church of England for many years. Franciscan friars built a friary in the town in the 12th century. After the friars were excluded and banished in the 16th century the friary was used for many other purposes before reverting to its original religious role though under the Church of England as Greyfriars Church in the mid 19th century. There are 18 Church of England parish churches in central Reading
St James’s Church built in the 19th century in a part of the destroyed abbey, was the first Roman Catholic Church to be built here after the 16th century. Today there are eight Roman Catholic parish churches in Reading.
The whole of Reading has about 115 churches while central reading has about 55 churches representing the Salvation Army, Quakers, Methodist, Lutheran and Baptist faiths and those of the United Reformed Church, Serbian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Argyle Community Church, Church of God World Wide Mission, the Reading Deaf Church, New Testament Church of God, White Knights Church, Korean Church, several Seventh Day Adventists churches and Grange United Reformed Church are among a host of other churches big and small, well known and not. Interestingly the architectural styles of the churches vary depending on whether they also serve as community centres and range from Medieval to more modern utilitarian designs. This preponderance of churches demonstrates the extraordinary diversity of beliefs and practices that exist within the same belief system sometimes due to language differences and ethnicity.
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Umanga Kahandawaarachchi is a passionate travel writer who writes under the pen name, Maggie Tulliver. Her field of writing covers a wide array of content and articles related to travel and hospitality industry.