What a busy day of churching I had! The Sacred Spaces Open House held today was, I have to admit, pretty !%@$ awesome. For one, it was nice to see the Center City religious community working together to "get the word out," to speak. For another, it was nice to see a public appreciation of the inherent architectural value of these places.
And for yet another, well, it was nice to remedy one of the biggest complaints about a lot of churches (and one I share myself) — they're just not open to the public enough!
I didn't get to all of the churches on the list, but I hit enough to get a sense of how everything was going. A few thoughts:
St. Patrick: Seriously, you couldn't spare anyone to show people around and answer questions? All of your Protestant breathren were overflowing with attention and information, and it almost felt like you couldn't be bothered to come to your own party. A shame. Speaking of....
St. Mark: I love the breathless and passionate interaction, but it's not really the best idea to have a full children's orchestra practice going on at the same time as the open house. Kind of dampens the ability of visitors to wander and explore.
Tenth Street Presbyterian: You have probably the most un-churchlike church I've ever been inside. No iconography, no real altar or religious decorations of any kind. Very, very strange. (First Presbyterian succeeds much more in this regard.)
Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion: Don't let other people give you grief for putting out your Christmas decorations early. They look fabulous.
First Unitarian Church: Frank Furness was many things, but I'm not sure he intended for you to paint your interior bright blue.
And to those of you that had food and drink — :air kisses:
The real takeaway is, why don't more neighborhoods do this? I know, I know, not all areas have the same concentration of churches, or the same level of safety, and yeah, not all community groups probably have the clout that the Center City Residents Association does.
But at the end of the day, you have to do what you can to survive. And if something like this gets people talking, walking and inquiring about you, then it's worth whatever effort it takes.
Where else would you like to see a religious walking tour?