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it’s good enough for me

September 27, 2011

I don’t know if this is the oldest church in Antioch, but it might be. When I was attending it, as a kid, it was a Congregational church. It traced its lineage back to some of Antioch’s original founders, IIRC, who were mostly white bread New England types.

If you are wondering why I, who was more of a lavash, Central California type, was attending it… well, somewhere out there in West Asia, my great-grandparents decided to become Presbyterians.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. Back in the early sixties, all the churches were still downtown. Before everything morphed, for better or worse.

Soon after, every church with an image to uphold decided they needed a new building. The Congregationalists went totally UCC and moved out to the edge of town, to a big new lot with a modern compound and lots of parking. No more Sunday school in the basement! The Methodists did too. The Catholics stayed downtown, just not so far downtown; more ties, perhaps, or more resources to buy a city lot.

The old Catholic church was demolished– supposedly not earthquake-safe. The old Methodist church is used by a far less mainline denomination, as is the church above. It would probably make the old Puritans turn over in their graves. But they’re keeping it up nicely, don’t you think? I can’t fault them for the ubiquitous plastic play equipment.

I’m glad to see the building so well-loved, even if its original heart is gone. A building that looks like a church, and not like a bomb shelter, or a water slide, or a flying saucer that crash landed.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2011 6:53 PM

    I hate modern churches. To me, a church is a cathedral. Stained glass. Taller than wide.

    My problem is, I also get mad when churches spend tons of money on a building instead of helping the less fortunate! Especially if it’s an ugly building- I went to a memorial last month in a church that’s a giant metal building. It is butt ugly from the outside. Two story metal building. Small windows, no trim.

    Inside, the main room is HUGE- two story, gigantic area for the preacher to stand – I mean, it’s as big as a bandstand- and actually very little seating. It’s like it’s all designed to aggrandize the preacher. It irritated me, even though it’s none of my business.

    • E. A. Peregrine permalink
      September 28, 2011 7:49 PM

      I think you hit the nail on the head: the more people started working off the idea of “performance” or “entertainment” the more things became focused on the guy in the front. And all the beautiful surrounding things, which spoke to the collective individuality of the people, were cast aside.

      I’m sick of ugly churches. I’m with you. Getting rid of an architectural vocabulary that was developed over centuries, simply in favor of the novel, just leaves everyone cold and lost. It’s like suddenly deciding to speak a new language, which you made up solely on the basis of “it doesn’t sound like English”– and which no one understands.

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