Symbols of Hope

One of my colleagues addressed a clergy group this week on the subject of church buildings.

He pointed out that in very depressed communities, churches may be the only buildings still maintained with care. Because they are visible centers of vitality, they become symbols of hope to their surrounding areas.

Church buildings may also have an impact in affluent areas, like our own Murray Hill. They are the rare public spaces where you can enter without being under an obligation to buy something. They are quiet places where people can spend a few moments to think and collect themselves. If they are as large as Incarnation, this can happen in the back of the church even while services are being conducted in the front.

We who need to maintain these costly buildings don’t take them for granted. But we can be glad that others who don’t in any sense identify with the Episcopal Church as an institution still enjoy the peace of Christ that our churches offer. —J. Douglas Ousley

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