Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jacob's Guide to Churches

Jacob has recently been identifying churches according to what he considers to be the key characteristics, like what the floor is made of, is there a roof, are there windows or just holes, etc. Typical stuff everyone looks for. He has various categories: Broken, Old, New, Play.
Whitby/Broken Abbey

He was talking the other day about a "broken church." After some questions, I was able to deduce he meant Whitby Abbey. Presumably it's a broken church because it is missing a few walls, the floor is mostly grass, and the wind blows freely through. And there's only a little bit of roof. It's the ultimate fixer upper.

Almost since we arrived in England, he has gone on about "old" churches. We went to a special Mass at Fountains Abbey in the cellar of the abbey ruins, most likely because that part has the most shelter from the elements. The wall and roof were intact, but the windows had no glass; they were just holes in the wall. The doors in and out were also just holes. The kicker here was the floor. A lot of folding chairs were set up on the dirt floor. No stones, no wood, no carpet, just dirt. This fact made quite an impression on Jacob.

"New" churches usually have wood or carpeted floors (stone still makes for an "old" church). Our parish has doors and windows with pretty stained glass. Having pews or benches to sit on also helps make a church "new" in the eyes of Jacob. He also has a knack for identifying speaker systems which the monks of the middle ages definitely did not invest in. "New" takes in the last century and a half.

Jacob loves to look for bells, too.
A recently developed category of churches is the "play" church. He's not being disrespectful of some people's worship space (even though we did go to a church that let a bunch of model trains be set up inside--I don't think Jacob even realized that was a church). He plays church downstairs in our house. He usually hands me a sheet of paper that is the hymnal. He uses the cord that opens the shades to ring the bell (a favorite memory from Hexham Abbey is the guy ringing the bells). And he will shush people who are talking too loudly during "church." I sing along as best I can. He is developing a charming habit of making up his own lyrics. It's fun to listen to but it's hard to sing along. He is much more patient about that.

Oh, and he's given a name to the church in our house: Waterfall Abbey. I think we've already documented quite extensively Jacob's love of fountains and waterfalls, so what could be more appropriate for him. All we need is some religious order to come in and maintain the place. Or the National Trust. Or English Heritage. Of course, we are only renting, so we probably wouldn't reap any financial benefits. But, oh, the bragging rights!

Actually, I should check our rental contract. We may be in violation of our agreement. Don't tell our landlady!

No comments:

Post a Comment