Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to Love a Church

Our church is going through a big transition time. We have been at this residence for over 50 years and it is time to build anew. Our Chapel is separate from the Parish house but the parish house is in a state of disrepair. It has been loved and has held much love.

It is a beautiful building but has been altered so much over the years that the historical significance has been lost. Renovating the building would have cost an exhorbitant amount of money and ultimately it was decided that a new green building would help us to grow and thrive.
In the meantime, we are renting space from a closed down Episcopal church.
It is a beautiful space and everyone has been working so hard to make it welcoming.

We will miss this building.
The third floor has been closed for some time.
It used to be the minister's apartment years ago.

I am coveting this blue tub to soak in.

But we won't miss things like this.

Many moons ago, the third floor was used for Religious Education classes.
The kids painted a mural.
I wish there was a way to preserve this part.
The rainbow covering the world.

Between the two doors is a painting of our Chapel.

It has a chalice painted at the top with all the Universal Religious symbols.
The old parish house has a glorious staircase and bannister.
I wonder how many generations of families have run their hands down this bannister...or slid down the bannister just for fun.

There are some beautiful mantel pieces in this old house.

The children's chapel was always a place of song and love
and will be again in our new home.

But now we must pack up our belongings and ourselves and move
to a temporary home until our new building is built.
But we will be together as a faith community.

The bare walls are not so scary anymore.
They help us to anticipate what is to come.

Love is in this church.
This past Sunday the entire congregation wrote messages of love on all the church walls. It helped us to bless this space and thank God for community and our blessings.

The upstairs classroom doors show many children and how they grew in
height and in heart for our church.

Even the teachers spoke from their hearts and gave thanks.

Love surrounds us no matter where we are as a community.

Love is in our helping hands and hearts and help to move us forward.

We say good-bye to the building but not to the memories we have made.

Laughter brings love and invitation for renewal.

Some look forward to the the new journey and anticipate what could be.

Some are sad, and worry and can't imagine being without this place.

And "It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work. That when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey"...
or so Wendell Berry says.

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need is here.
And we pray, not
for earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
-that Wendel Berry is a wise man.
So many messages of love. Like the Multicultural Turkey of Peace.
Children's hands and adult hands and clergy hands and hands that have worked and have been joined together each Sunday.
Hands that have joined for love, peace, freedom and justice.
Hands that have joined in love and prayer and will lead us to our new ever temporary it might be. Nothing else matters. The new church is very different from what we are used to. The symbols are different, the town is new. It matters not. We are together.

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