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And we're off...Feb blogging challenge, day one!

Let the Second Annual February Blog Extravaganza begin!!!

Except, er, I don't actually have an idea for today's post...

How about if I post some photos I took this morning?

I was first to arrive for our pre-service choir practice, and instead of heading straight into the chapel to wait for the others, I went into the sanctuary. For me, there is something so wonderful about being in this place all by myself. In the stillness and silence, I feel calmed and strengthened. In the absence of other people, I feel not at all alone, the presence of the Spirit surrounds and fills me. It seems an incredible blessing to feel so entirely at home, with such a sense of belonging, in this amazing and awesome place of worship.

While enjoying my commune with God in the beautiful sanctuary this morning, I snapped some photos. Continue on to view those...

Here is my church from the outside (this particular photo was obviously not taken today, as evidenced by the lack of snow on the ground!):
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Shown below is the sanctuary.

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The light floods in through the huge window up front, and three smaller ones along the side. I greatly admire the huge stained glass windows seen in many churches, but in my own church, I love the plain glass window with the massive wooden cross. I could enjoy the side windows being replaced with stained glass, but I would not want the main window to be changed. There is a tiny stained glass window way up high opposite the cross, but I forgot to take a photo of it. It is beautiful with the sun shining through it, I have been told that one of the men in our congregation made it.

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A while ago, Annie had admired a banner showing in one of my previous photos. So here is a better look at the matching pair, followed by a couple other banners that hang in the sanctuary. Most, if not all, were made by a very talented woman in our congregation.

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This next one was a parting gift from our former minister, Rev. Iain:
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And this trio was made for a year of jubilee (don't ask me which year...it was before my church going days, am thinking likely 2000 though.)
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Our opening prayer today was:

"God of deserving praise, you gift us with voices of witness, hands to extend in welcome and care, and hearts to love. May your calling grow deeper within as your spirit equips and inspires us to do your will. Amen."

(Imagine what a different world we'd live in if we extended our hands in welcome to everyone we met, and opened our hearts to love all of our neighbours.)

Comments (11)

Valerie:

Anne

I too love to be in that space when no one else is around. Some days , early in the morning, before the others arrive i go in and sit at the piano and enjoy a wonderful moment of peace and joy.

The big window, for me, provides a view into the amazing awesomeness of God. One view that stands out for me was during a funeral a member of our congregation a couple of years ago when we were singing " On eagles wings" a beautiful bird soared back and forth in front of the window. A moment of revelation and peace!


Valerie

Anne, this post filled me with so much peace and serenity and it is just what I needed to read after not being able to attend Mass today. Thanks for sharing and for posting today's opening prayer. The banners are gorgeous and very inspirational.

Beautiful church. It looks like it is a very peaceful place. Loved the pictures.

Anne,

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. It made me feel good, yet bad for missing church today(I had to work). Your church and the banners are beautiful.
And yes the year of Jubilee is 2000.

Anne:

Valerie, that's so cool! I've seen the odd hawk soaring around, mostly I just watch the trees and the clouds (love my heavenly rays!) Not that my attention ever wanders out the window during your sermons, of course...lol

Maria, I'm so glad you enjoyed the prayer, I thought it was wonderful too. I agree the banners are gorgeous - so colourful and joyful, I just love them! It's kind of funny about the banner Iain gave the church...he said he'd asked around to find out which St. John our church was named after, the Baptist or the Evangelist, but nobody seemed to know! So he just made an executive decision and chose the Baptist as the theme for his parting gift!

girasoli, it is a beautiful place, I fell in love with it right away!

Candi, thanks for clearing up the Jubilee year! Hope you don't have to work every Sunday. I am thankful that my work rarely interferes with my worshipping.

I love ALL those banners! Thanks for showing more of them.

Anne:

Annie, my pleasure! There are some quilts on the walls too, I must take photos sometime and post those as well.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Anne, I love this post. I enjoyed seeing photos of your beautiful church and of the beautiful banners. And I have to agree about the window remaining plain with it's beautiful view.

Thanks for this great post Anne!

Anne:

Thanks Kathy, if there's ever a move to replace the plain with stained glass, maybe Valerie can threaten them with eternal damnation unless they leave well enough alone! ;)

sandrac:

Lovely banners, Anne. And it looks like it was a beautiful, beautiful day!

Anne:

Sandra, it was a gorgeous morning with the sun streaming in and all its glory! I'll tell you though, the sanctuary is equally beautiful in the dark, wish I had a photo from the evening the power went out and the children's choir practiced by candlelight.

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