Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Parish Souvenir

We had an ice-cream social at church tonight. (I brought my own soy ice-cream, and ate too much of it!) I didn't stay long, but I had nice conversations with some folks, including a couple who've been attending our parish for forty-eight years. I think that's as long as it's been open. Wow.

We're in the process of emptying the building (the disposition of the building itself is up to the diocese), and the parish-hall floor was partly covered with liturgical banners. Many of them have been handmade by parishioners over the years, so the vestry wanted to give people who'd worked on them a chance to take them home. I've had my eye on this Lenten banner for some weeks now; I started attending church during Lent, and I find the stark tree very powerful. Tonight I asked our Senior Warden if I could have the banner. She shrugged and said, "It's been out here for a few weeks, so if no one else has claimed it and you want it, it's yours."

I'm not sure what I'll do with it -- Gary thinks we should hang it in the house, but we're very short on wall space everywhere except the stairwells -- but I love having it. I've always been deeply moved by how much of our physical church building was handmade by the community. The altar, rood beam and baptismal font were hand-carved by a previous rector, and the stained-glass windows were designed by a parishioner and then cut and assembled by the entire parish over a period of about a year. (That was before my time, but I love the story.) I can't take home a window or the altar, but I'm glad I have this banner.

I'll miss our homey, cozy sanctuary. The parish where I suspect I'll end up has one of the ugliest sanctuaries I've ever seen -- cinder-block walls, and a wall statue of Jesus that looks like a giant nightlight somebody bought at a garage sale -- but in a weird way, that's part of its charm. It's a place where I suspect Jesus himself would have been comfortable. The big downtown church is a miniature Gothic cathedral: gorgeous, but far too formal for me. It's what a friend of mine calls "sinners-in-the-hands-of-an-angry-God architecture," the kind of place that makes me feel like a speck of dust that's been blown in the window. The people I know from my parish who really care about church aesthetics are going there. I prefer unintimidating worship space!

In other art news, on Friday I'll be picking up another piece incorporating trees: the ceramic pencil holder I commissioned with some of Dad's ashes in the glaze. It's a very small piece (and may sound silly as a memorial object), but I'm glad I'll have it, and the trees will match my Lenten banner.

Oh, the new Kindle didn't arrive today; it will come tomorrow, and apparently it's shipping from Indianapolis rather than Reno. I guess Reno's out of Kindles!

Tomorrow: an early-morning doctor's appointment, two meetings at work (at least one of which will be difficult and draining), and a concert in the evening. Somewhere in there, I have to get grading and writing done, and swim!


  1. Anonymous6:49 AM

    Dear Susan,

    I see you've got another busy day today. I hope you find at least a few moments of peace and quiet in the middle of it all.


  2. My Freshman year at Nevada -- my "first" Freshman year -- my high school drama teacher died of cancer and (if memory serves) his service was held at Trinity Episcopal Church downtown.

  3. Anonymous4:36 PM

    Hi Susan,

    The banner is very nice, and have you noticed the colors go so nicely with the quilt where you photographed it? I bet you have.




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