Kirkepiscatoid

Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

One of the things I love about our church building is its age. Our present church building was built in 1917. Although it's one of the smaller churches on "church row" in Kirksville, it is one of the more attractive ones, built in the style of an old English church. Outside, it shows its age. It definitely needs tuckpointing. But you can still tell there's something different about it. I've been told it was designed by an architect named Dunbar, who did several churches in Missouri and was one of the more noted architects of the time.

Inside, it's the classic old Anglican style, with the upside down boat shaped ceiling and the timbers running across the sides of the "boat." although the altar, pulpit, and rail are newer, the rest is pretty much what was put in at the time it was built.

Honestly, it's the wood in the church that fascinates me. There's something about wood that allows one to reflect upon life. I like to think about the wood in the pews, the floor, the beams. The pews certainly must have wood in them that are 40 or 50 years older than the church because people still used old growth forest in those days. The beams could be older. It's odd to think about wood in your church that was still around when Americans owned slaves. When those trees were alive, they were most certainly harvested with horse-drawn labor. The sense of connection with history just from the wooden parts of my church can sometimes be an overwhelming feeling.

I would love to see pictures of the construction of the church; I wonder if any exist. The foundation was certainly hand dug with laborers and pickaxes. Most of the workmen must have traveled to their job by wagon or horseback as very few people owned a car in 1916-17. WWI had not yet touched the United States but it was getting very close when they started construction on that church. Kirksville was not yet 20 years out from the devastating tornado that hit it in 1899. Probably very few trees of any size were on Harrison or Mulanix streets, the corner where Trinity sits.

I like to think of how the congregation felt, sitting in their brand new church for the first time, in 1917. It's funny to think about them using the 1892 Book of Common Prayer. (I can barely imagine even sitting through a service with the 1892 BCP and saying all those "thee's", "thou's," and "beeseeches"!) That grand old girl that is my church has seen a lot of change, for sure.

I think about her magic in a world where the fancy, auditorium sized megachurch is the hot ticket. Yet she is alive and well, not a dinosaur at all, in a world of churches made to make her feel like a dinosaur. God dwells in her in a way that may never happen in a lot of church buildings because people will be obsessed with new and shiny. Yet this was not by design. The congregation in 1917 had a shiny new church and they were probably very happy about the new and shiny parts of it. Then somehow, over time, the congregation sees the magic of being in something grand and old. This had to be an imperceptible change. Funny how things like that happen, isn't it?

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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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