Skip to comments.Buildings [Continuing Anglican]
Posted on 09/09/2006 5:49:32 PM PDT by sionnsar
It is a great joy to serve as curate in as beautiful a parish church as St. Mark's APA. Many, but by no means all, continuing church buildings are rather modest to say the least, and I have worshipped in a lot of these "modest" buildings. But honestly, it never bothered me that much. Worshipping the Lord in a small, rented building, basement, etc. is as wonderful and as valid as worshipping the Lord in a cathedral. As long as there is a valid sacrament, and the word of God is truly preached, I am fine. Everyone has to start somewhere. St. Mark's once met in a metal shed-like structure out by the Vero Beach airport!
I truly believe that many (not all) people do not consider joining "continuing" churches because the buildings are often very modest. Yes, people today are that shallow. They are more concerned with externals, and are not willing to go help start a new church with their time, presence, or money. One wonders if people of this mindset would have become Christians in ancient times, when there were no fancy buildings, organs, vestments, and you could possibly be killed for being a believer. Probably not.
I don't think there's anything wrong with starting in a shopping mall or a garage, but you shouldn't want to stay there. Applause for the priest whose church is already drawing up plans for an appropriate but modest chapel.
Case in point: the Catholic church in my parents' home town is a mission church with a visiting priest from the nearest big city (well, big city for coastal GA anyhow). It's no bigger than a minute, but it LOOKS like a church.
Agreed. I've been a member of two churches (one PECUSA, one APCK) who started from nothing and eventually put up their buildings. It's not easy, but there is little to match the day you burn the mortgage and consecrate the building (as we did last year).
Fellow in our carpool is the youth minister for an evangelical Anglican church in town, they seem to be under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Bolivia. They've been in rented space for awhile, but with great joy they are planning for a "real" church building a few miles north of their current location.
"As long as there is a valid sacrament, and the word of God is truly preached, I am fine."
Best part of the article.
On the other hand, there is a risk with building too small and too soon. It can actually inhibit the ultimate growth of the congregation.
Usual practice (and I've been through this twice) is to build a "worship space" that can be turned into a parish hall.
Both my former ECUSA parish and my Catholic parish did this. I've watched it happen over a period of about 45 years, because I went to the elementary school attached to our former ECUSA parish, and I grew up literally two blocks away from our Catholic parish.
The ECUSA parish started with one of those buildings with the exposed L-shaped structural steel beams (cheap). With moveable dividers, it became classrooms for the school on weekdays. It eventually became the parish hall, then the auditorium for the school. The Catholic parish started with a hilarious low, round concrete building (locally known as "The Great Pumpkin") that eventually became the gym. The second building started out as the sanctuary, then became (and still is) the parish hall. The current chapel was added as one wing to that building, then another wing was added as Sunday School rooms. The new sanctuary was constructed at the other end of a covered walkway from that building -- it's a "real" traditional brick church in the H.H. Richardson style.
Except for the "Great Pumpkin", which was wrecked out to construct the traditional Oxford-University-style buildings for the new prep school attached to the parish, all the buildings survive and are functional today.
Our current parish is at 1600 households, which exceeds the growth estimate made back in 1988.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.