Thursday, May 01, 2008

History can be interesting and depressing

Our church will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary next year. As I've been working on confirmation pictures, David and I noticed that on the altar there use to be a cross with the body of Christ along with two brass candelabras (one with three candles sitting on each side) and David asked some people were they might be. "Well they must be around here somewhere" was the response. Curious to find out where that "somewhere" is, David has been doing some searching.

First, he looked using our digital video camera suspended on a pole to look in the cabinet which is behind the altar. This cabinet is actually the bottom of the altar, but since the altar sits next to the wall, it was too small a space to physically get in and look. What did he find? Nothing.

Second, he has looked through all the various closets. He's found offering envelopes from 1995 and old 35 films and oodles of Bible Study books, Sunday School materials, and even glass from a couple of doors, but no altar cross or brass candelabras.

Tonight he took a flashlight and went into the attic. But the only thing he found was blown insulation. Bummer.

Would they really have thrown the altar cross and candelabras which had adorned the altar for many, many years away? Did someone (a previous pastor? laymen?) take them for whatever reason? Are they in some one's barn or garage and attic and they have forgotten all about them? Or worse yet, did they have it in their garage and then get rid of it because it was taking up space? Will we ever find out the answer?

Too bad as the cross on the altar now doesn't have the body of Christ, and boy it sure would be nice to have the old one. But the altar at least has the statue of Christ in the "blessing pose," so I focus on it during various parts of the service.

The other shocking thing to us was how long this congregation has been without the common cup. When my husband was called here five years ago, he began again offering it along with the individual cups. Our impression was that the common cup hadn't been offered in about 20 years except on Confirmation Sunday and then only to the confirmands. But as we were talking with some people about the missing cross and candelabras, it came out in conversation that the common cup hasn't been offered in almost 50 years! Really? Can that be? I'm not sure I believe that yet, it just doesn't seem possible.

If it is true than the chalice David has been using these past 5 years is at least 50 years old. I think that is nice, to be communing out of the same chalice as fellow saints have in this same place, whom I don't know, but whom I once again will one day worship with in heaven.


Polly said...

That is quite a mystery. I hope you're able to turn up something.

Our church is a former Methodist building, so we have a large plain cross over the altar. We added a processional crucifix which stays up front - it's very nice, but I'd love to find a 4 ft corpus for the empty cross.

We had 7 people at our Ascension Day service last night.

Karen said...

Glenda, I almost hate to mention it, but one of our previous churches was broken into and the thief stole candelabras, communion ware, offering plates, and many other items. Is it possible that something similar happened at your church in the distant past?