Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday Day One

Day One of my holidays is nearly over - for the purposes of holiday-counting, we are on weekdays only, seeing that we always have the weekends off! And to my shame, I have to report that no work has been done on the essays yet. On the other hand, the big pile of post and letters and papers that had been sitting on the floor beside my bed has been sorted and cleared!

Today was taken up with the much more important task of re-visiting Belfast. I hadn't properly been in the city since about August, and felt like I was missing out, although now I realise nothing much has changed. But it was nice just being able to wander about with no pressure or work to worry about! And I was able to use up a voucher I had for Faith Mission, getting a few wee books and a cd.

I went visiting yesterday, to the new building of St Saviour's in Dollingstown. It is an amazing building, with its curved seats looking towards the front. I have to point out, though, that it is by no means a 'normal' Church of Ireland parish church, given that there is no pulpit/lectern on either side of the Lord's Table... but rather, it has a central lectern, and the Table well behind it. Another missing feature from a 'normal' church is the Communion Rail... but is this really necessary?

I suppose to some extent it will depend on the importance of church practice and theology on these matters - at a simple level, whether we are 'high' or 'low' church people... and while kneeling to receive Holy Communion can show a sign of humbleness, could it be interpreted as in some sense 'worshipping' the bread and wine?

And is it vital to have the different places to do specific functions - for example, the lectern where the Word is read, and the pulpit where the Word is preached? Should they be separate, or be done in the same place?

Thisis, of course, by no means a complete discussion, or even a fully-thought out theory... but it might just provoke you to some thought on the matter... what way should the buildings we meet in for worship be laid out?

I have another posting in the making on the issues raised in a book I have been reading... it's called 'The Provocative Church' by Graham Tomlin. More will come in due time!

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