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through these portals

March 13, 2012

Well, this isn’t Antioch, but close enough.

Perhaps you recall this entry, wherein I described some elements of churchy metamorphosis in the 1960s.

These days, a lot of change has to do with consolidation, rather than expansion. The church in that post recently sold its “new” property, and combined forces with another church in Pittsburg.

They use a lovely old chapel left over from Camp Stoneman. I assume it is original, since it’s described as “historic.”

When I was a kid, a lot of Camp Stoneman and its structural remains were still there, pointed out as we passed on the highway. Our elders gave us a one or two line explanation of its purpose, which sufficed. These days, with everything so transformed and built up, it’s hard to remember exactly where things were, way back then.

We went to a memorial service there, the Sunday before last. It’s very simple and light inside, with some nice abstract-looking stained glass windows which reminded me of the vases we used to make for Mother’s Day, layering pieces of starch-soaked tissue paper over Coke bottles.

Many, many of the people who attended had worked in the plants here, U.S. Steel, and Dow, etc. They were now in their seventies or eighties. Listening to them talk, to their stories of competence, co-operation, and mutual respect, you got a very clear idea of what has been dismantled in this country in the past few decades.

I’m not saying it was perfect. But it was something unique, egalitarian in the best sense, which we have discarded for a mess of pottage.

Photo by Naomi Griffin

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