Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo Challenge #8: churches

All last weekend I took pictures from the car as we would pass an old country church on the back roads in Amish country. They all for some reason tended to be a little blurry...DUH. This was the best shot I could get. I love the darkness of the entire picture. They weather that day was so overcast. But yet there is a brightness for the fall season in the browns and oranges in the shot. The door and stoop are dressed for the season. Very inviting don't you think? I wonder what the pews look like? I imagine them being darn warn oak with no padding for comfort. I can only imagine what the stained glass windows look like on a bright day. Can you hear the congregation singing Amazing Grace or the Doxology being accompanied by the piano? And what about he choir...maybe ten ladies and three gentlemen? I can hear some babies crying. And I can also hear the strong voice of that country pastor telling the wonderful story of salvation. Wonder if anyone will come forward to be baptized on the Sunday?

Feel The Love

Emmy has chosen the topic for this months photo shoot...churches. I think back to all the churches we have been members of. And then I think of the all the wonderful people who are the churches I have 'grown-up' in. There is the church not far from home that I attended when I was little and later on was married in. The church that I attended with Mark where I became serious about all this God stuff. The church not far from my first church where I was baptized. And where the church family let me spread my wings and try things with their children. Then we moved away from our roots and moved to Ohio where we searched and searched for a church home. We finally decided to bloom where we were planted. This was our home-away-from-home-church. I was also privileged to be able to work with the children and youth of this church. And is the people that make the church not the four walls and the steeple. Once again God uprooted us and we had to find a new church home far, far, away for all those we hold near and dear. Our new church was not like anything we had ever experienced before. The hugeness of it was so unfamiliar. But the love shown was the same. Friendships that are everlasting no matter where we go to sleep at night. And one last move to our church now that is on the other side of the city. All that to say that I wanted to show you all of these buildings of churches but unfortunately, that is not going to be possible. But I want you to feel and understand that it is defiantly not the church building that makes the church. It is the people within...that love you no matter what, that will drop whatever they are doing if they know you need anything, those that share even when they don't have much left for themselves, those who will cook for you when they know you need it most, those who will give the shirts off their backs, that will drive hours to surprise you, love your children as much as you do, make you feel like family, call you just to check in, will send pictures of their kids and grand kids because they know you care, contribute to a whim, call to invite you to important gathering at their churches, who will cry on the phone with you, will give you a hug with no words because they are hurting just as much as I was...I could go on and on. I love my 'church people' more than they will ever know.

P.A. Churches

I could have easily submitted some photos from Salt Rock U.M.C...the country church I grew up in. But I did spot a few neat ones on a recent road trip to Pennsylvania. There's this one spot right off the busy interstate that always catches my breath. I love it! I believe it is in Cumberland Maryland. But its in a quick turn and no quick simple access off so all I can really provide is non-quality photography. Its a fast drive by hang out the window type photo shoot so its more about quanity than quality with this one. Look at all of those churches! I don't even think I captured the other ones nearby. I just love that quick view. They all sit nestled in a valley.

The last photo is somewhere? in Pennsylvania... I have no idea where-it was just right on the way to our destination. What you must envision with this picture though is that the church sits a top a hill...all alone with the cemetery. Its just plopped right there on the side of the road with the autumn hills all around it. The hill side kind of reminded me of God's outstretched arms around that little simple church. It was very quiet and still with a subtle breeze there. So serene. And so welcoming to just "be still".

This was a fun category. I didn't have a lot of time to put into it but can you just imagine a portfolio of all of the churches and their beauty! They are everywhere. And there is something about a church. I think its because people know there's so much more than the building. Its a safe haven. It represents love and unity and most of is God's House.

*I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, California

I thought I'd show a church that is uniquely Californian.  We have 21 missions in California, founded in the 1700 and 1800's by Spanish priest.  They worked their way up for South America, through Mexico, to California.  Some of the history of the missions is very negative, but today, we are left with the current beauty.

This is the front of the church. Built in 1798, San Luis Rey is the largest of the 21 California Missions.  It's nickname is "King of the Missions"; it covers 56 acres.  It is a historic landmark, and is operated by the Franciscan Friars.  They receive no funds from the Catholic Church or State or local governments.

These are the flags of welcome, at the Mission, U.S.A., California, Mexico and Spain.

This is the entrance and interior of the graveyard at the Mission.  There were some interesting sculptures, and a lot of trees.  Most of the trees had small wind chimes in them, to catch the breeze.  That made the environment very serene.

The Mission has all types of native plants this collage shows types of cacti and succulents.

Once a week the Indians that lived at the Mission walked down all these steps, to do their laundry.  The water flowed out of the two gargoyles.  Scary stuff.

The grounds of the Mission are full of wonderful flowers, too.  Most of the flowering plants survive on little water, this is arid California, after all.

I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour of the Mission San Luis Rey.


i love old churches. here are a few i've collected. this is a replica of the tabernacle of the Old Testament period....taken this summer on a tour of the Holy Land in eureka springs, ak, on the grounds of the Great Passion old church in germany....i wish i could remember how old. :)st louis cathedral on jackson square in new orleans...i wonder how it fares today after hurricane katrina.... i liked this old quaint church in nw georgiaa pretty wedding chapel in the great smoky mountainswhen we were in the san diego area a couple of years ago, we passed this beautiful church several times. it was just off the interstate. i thought 'ethereral' every time i saw it...especially at night when it was all lit up. i had to snap quickly as we drove by...after several attempts, i finally captured a shot i liked.