29 December 2009

The Alpha and the Omega

This past August, I happened across this church on the edge of the county. Alone, for once, and with my camera, I stopped to take photos. I stopped again yesterday, about the same time of day (2 in the afternoon) as August, and the light, of course, is totally different. Not much else has changed, though, in the last four months. When I was growing up, I adored old cemeteries, and the stories behind their churches were compelling to me. Though it's in my home county, I don't remember this particular one. It stands next to a major county road, and is locked up tight, with a foreboding (if nearly illegible) sign on the front door.
How long has it been locked? Where did the congregants go? There are many of these closed churches in Norman County, of course, little country churches that couldn't sustain the numbers or draw a pastor for what they could pay. Usually, they become township halls, or are donated to museums, or get torn down. Often just the altar is saved. This one is missing windows, though not all of them. A vine grew through the floor this summer.Winter view through the same window:Pigeons are filling the gaps with their nests. This altar remains: perhaps because it's simple, or no one had room or desire for it. The lectern and pulpit still stand, too. How many couples were married here? How many funerals? There's no cemetery in the church yard, so where were they buried? There is no sign or marking of the name or denomination of this church, either. Somehow this makes it more spooky to me. And why, oh why, is the interior pink? Someone built this church. Someone finished the ends of that cross. Someone designed the arch of the steeple, and chose the tiny round window for the entryway. The only clue I can find are the letters on the altar, and even they don't tell me much. The letters are Greek, and I recognize them from my brief stint as a religious woman, in college. They refer to the infinity of God.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
--Revelations 22: 13
There's some sort of magnificent point here, but I haven't figured it out yet. You go on ahead.


Jenny said...

I l.o.v.e old churches and cemeteries also. Standing there imagining the history... "how many weddings... ho many sermons... how many hymns..." were done there? Cemeteries tell stories as well: dates entire families died and were buried together. Plague, maybe?

Here from CakeWrecks.

Jess said...

Where did you find that one? It is very cool. I wish we had had a chance to take pictures of Elm River School House before it was taken down. Imagine what you could do with a real camera not maintained with duct tape.

Jenn said...

I drive by this church on my way to my parents'! Thank you for taking the time to investigate and share! I have a penchant for abandoned places as well.

Dawn Mason said...

I would love to hear more about your brief stint as a religious woman.