Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lexa United Methodist, Phillips County

The cherry tree is blooming. Spring is here.

A nice example of thin-stacked Batesville area sandstone.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

That Old Church

After too long an absence, here is another photo taken and story written by my brother, Jim King. It comes from his book, Abandoned Arkansas. His notes on the photo follow the story.

Copyright 2008, from Abandoned Arkansas, by Jim King

That Old Church

Oh, yes, Lord. I know that church.
You’ve seen it? Now what would possess you to stop and look at it? It’s almost falling down. You took pictures of it? Land sakes.
I figure nobody even sees it nowadays. It’s almost been swallowed by the earth by now.
Now, mind you, we had some mighty good times inside. There was a big congregation there about fifty years ago, and if you passed on a Wednesday night, you’d know how big it was from the sound of the choir practicing. Oh, I really enjoyed those choir practices; they were far better than the actual Sunday choirs. I declare that anybody who left that building after practice was smiling and joking and full of God’s laughter.
You know that God laughs, don’t you, young man? Lord, he does it all the time. It’s how he copes with us.
My Daddy helped to build that church back in the teens, and I guess I never expected it would ever be empty.
But times change. I don’t think God does, but people sure do.
After Brother Benjamin passed, there was no one to fill the void. He had helped build that church, and anyone who came after was just tryin’ to hoe a dry row, if you get my meaning.

Oh, there were sparks, and a few of the preachers lit a bit of a fire. Especially Brother Meaning. That was back in the sixties, when we all listened better than now.
But the generations that started it all died out about the same time, and their kids - I’m one, you know - kept up the vision. But times change, and the congregation did, too. We all got a little older, and most of us got more cynical.
It’s got hard for most people to believe in anything anymore.
When I started going there, the pews were filled an hour before the sermon began, and it was standing room only in the nave. Then people began to pass on, and it was very few of their kids that came in behind.
I watched as the congregation shrank, and it just made my heart cry. Others felt the same way, but there were just too few of us to make a difference.
I don’t remember the name of the last pastor; he wasn’t there for more than a few months. But he was the one who told us the doors would be closing in three weeks. Three weeks!
I know there were only four of us, but you shouldn’t do your congregation that way. Visiting preacher or no.
We never went back after that. And look at our church now.
God is in your heart, young man. And if he isn’t, there’s not a grand cathedral or tabernacle that can put him there.

He’s here in this room with us right now.
What’s more, he’s in that old church still.
Go there. You’ll see.

from Jim's notes:
Many of my friends have chided me for this story.
“How can you write a story of a church from a Christian point of view when you’re an atheist?”
Just because I don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate points of view from those that do.
I’d like to think others would do the same for me.
It’s one of my favorite stories. I had no idea what I would write as I started, hoping inspiration would come during the process. In fact, I had no intention of using the picture at all, as I had many more abandoned churches with more, uh, picturesqueness. But the story flowed, and I can’t deny there was some influence from outside.
It’s called a muse.
The church is in Phillips County.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Presbyterian, Pine Bluff

A very tall copper-clad steeple on this church.

A shot through the budding trees.

I think this window has dichroic glass in it. It really glows.

This fine little building is the meditation chapel.

church web site

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I.D.M.R., Pine Bluff

Daffodils bloom outside the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research. Is it a church? I don't know, but they host 'Bible lectures' four times a week. The building appears to be a re-purposed 30's era gas station.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lakeside United Methodist, Pine Bluff

Is this not a beautiful church? It was completed in 1912.

I snapped this picture around 1PM on a Sunday. A very nice lady who was leaving the church saw me photographing and introduced herself. I regret to say I don't recall her name, but I believe she's an assistant pastor in the church. She informed me the church once had a dome. You can see the dome in a photograph at the link below. Personally, I think it looks better without it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holy Rosary Catholic, Stuttgart

The stained glass in this church is most unusual. The glass itself is beautiful blown Blenko glass, but instead of lead binding the pieces, it's held together with epoxy resin, much like dalle-de-verre, or faceted glass. Dalle is 3/4" thick, but Blenko sheet glass at its thickest is about 1/4" thick and at its thinnest is 1/16" thick. My visits to the church to repair some of the broken pieces proved to be a challenge, but after 39 years, it's nice to be able to learn something new.