nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘old church

restoring an old church

leave a comment »

For some time now, as part of my duties on the Vestry of our church, I have been involved in discussions about the future of a very old church in our community.

~

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in New Maryland, New Brunswick (Photo credit: Hughes)

~

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in New Maryland, New Brunswick was built in 1863 and is a small wooden Gothic Revival church designed by Rev. Edward S. Medley as part of his architectural program.

~

~

In recognition of its history and architecture, the church is listed as a Protected Historic Site under the Heritage Conservation Act. It is considered to be one of the finest Medley-inspired, Neo-Gothic, wooden churches in New Brunswick. The designation has this to say about the church …

 

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin Provincial Heritage Place is significant because of its association with the Neo-Gothic architectural programme of Anglican priest-architect Rev. Edward S. Medley and, his father, Bishop John Medley. Here the two Medleys have collaborated to render a diminutive, wooden, mid-Victorian church-building translated from more formal stone compositions in England dating back to the Middle Ages. Designed by Rev. Edward S. Medley in 1863 and completed the following year, this church was consecrated by Bishop John Medley. It serves as a noteworthy example of the more than 100 Neo-Gothic churches erected in New Brunswick during the 47 year episcopate of John Medley (1845-1892).

Inspired by other much larger church buildings of the Gothic manner, St. Mary the Virgin reflects a dramatic emphasis on exterior vertical lines reaching upward along the walls of the building, ending in a distinctive bell turret. This verticality is accentuated further by board-and-batten exterior construction punctuated frequently in the architectural pattern by the characteristic pointed arch motif over windows, doorways and gables.

~

The old church is closely surrounded by a cemetery and has been important to the community as a place of worship, family life, weddings, baptisms, and burials for well over 100 years. Since a new church was built in 1987, the old church has aged and weathered. Although repairs are needed, restoration is possible and a number of options have been suggested for its reuse.

~

(Photos of the stained glass windows in the church are by John Leroux and are used with permission)

~

If you are interested in hearing more about this church and following along as a new future for the church is imagined and realised, you can join the Facebook Group ‘Friends of the Historic New Maryland Church’. I hope to see you there!

~

Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

November 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

writing a novel … next (brave) step

with 12 comments

For the past two years, I have been working on a novel.   The working title of the book is ‘Saving the Landing Church’ – the actual title is ‘Open to the Skies’.  For more information about the process of writing ‘Open to the Skies’, have a look at the category ‘writing a novel’. https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/writing-a-novel-telling-a-story/

~

The book is about a woman who falls in love with an old church and decides to save it from demolition, in spite of active resistance from members of the community.

~

IMG480_crop

the setting for my novel … an old church and its hall and rectory are moved to a new location along the St. John River to create a writers’ retreat …

~

After taking my book through nine drafts, numerous readings of bits with my writing groups, and a third-party edit, I have taken the next (brave) step.  I am sending my novel to three publishing companies.  I chose the publishers based on their dedication to Canadian authors and subjects, their willingness to read unsolicited manuscripts, and their current book lists.

~

It will be a long wait.  I know from past experience that I may not hear from them for six to eight months, and then it will likely be ‘no’.  This is not lack of confidence or uncertainty about my skill.  It is reality – most book publishers get up to a thousand submissions per year and, of course, can only choose a few of these to publish.  However, on my side is the characteristic of doggedness.

~

I will be sure and let you know what happens next with ‘Open to the Skies’.  Meanwhile, I’ll be busy working on a sequel to the first book and, of course, on my poetry.

~

Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

March 16, 2015 at 7:34 am

restoring an old church 5-9

with 12 comments

~

vine-covered arch

vine-covered arch in enclosed garden in Belle Croix (image from Street View)

~

Day 5-9 1 Logbook

~

Day 5-9 1 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

~

On May 7, I took my virtual bike through the area of Dompierre-sur-Mer and saw so many interesting sights.  The gardens were lush and green.  Even the traffic circles were small oases of interesting plants …

~

5-9 o

planted traffic circle in Dompierre-sur-Mer (image from Street View)

~

In the town, I was very interested to see an old church, the Prieuré Saint-Pierre, in the process of restoration.  Thanks to the magic of Street View, I could see a photo of ‘before’ …

~

5-9 tttt

Prieuré Saint-Pierre before restoration in October of 2009 (image from Street View)

~

and ‘during’ …

~

5-9 ttt

Prieuré Saint-Pierre during restoration in September 2010 – the small building at the rear of the church has been demolished and the restoration of the back wall is underway (image from Street View)

~

The Prieuré Saint-Pierre in Dompierre-sur-Mer was founded in the 11th century by the monks of the Abbey of Maillezais.  I ‘visited’ this abbey in the post for April 24, https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/a-side-trip-to-an-old-abbey/ .

~

I could see the outside of some of the stained glass windows …

~

5-9 u

~

and the Bell Tower.  From my reading, I learned a spiral staircase provides access to this tower …

~

5-9 uu

~

As I passed the church, I looked back to see a worker restoring the entryway of the church …

~

5-9 uuuuu

~

A description of this entry is found in a short account of the church’s architecture and its long history of collapse and restoration at http://en.patrimoine-de-france.com/charente-maritime/dompierre-sur-mer/prieure-saint-pierre-2.php

~

The account reads, in part: ‘The western façade has a triangular pediment surmounted by a Latin cross. The entrance gate is a double leaf door surmounted by a tympanum in carpentry, highlighted by an arcade basket.  A molded headband short above the door. Above is drilled an oculus …’

~

You can see each of these features in the image above.  A ‘pediment’ is an element of classical architecture, a triangular gable.  A ‘tympanum’ is the decorated element over a door, above the lintel.  An ‘oculus’ is a central opening in a wall, allowing light to enter the building.

~

Best View: the outside of a stained glass window in the Prieuré Saint-Pierre.  The scene in the window depicts the Ascension of Jesus …

~

'window - Prieure Saint-Pierre in Dompierre-sur- Mer'

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  20131

a stone church

with 16 comments

~

Chapelle de Sainte-Macrine

Chapelle de Sainte-Macrine (image from Street View)

~

Logbook side trip church

~

On March 13,  I strayed from my planned path to take a 3 km side trip to see the Chapelle de Sainte-Macrine.  I have seen very few churches on my virtual bike trip, since Street View follows only the main roads – churches tend to be on side streets.

~

map of side trip to Sainte-Macrine

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Maps)

~

The first part of my trip was along the Rue des Ouches (meaning garden or orchard).  True to the name, many of the properties had neat gardens…

~

garden

one of the gardens along Rue des Ouches (image from Street View)

~

The church was of stone, cross-shaped, with buttresses and a large rose window.  The buttresses project from the sides of the church and serve to reinforce its walls.  Saint Macrine was a fourth century Saint who lived in the woods near Niort, France for seven years to escape persecution…

~

Chapelle de Saint Macrine

Chapelle de Saint-Macrine (image from Street View)

~

Best View: the rose window in the church…

~

'Rose Window'

~

I have realised that by following a single route, I have missed many features of the countryside.  In Phase 4 of my virtual bike trip, I am going to plan some side trips to see some interesting features of the French countryside.

~

Don’t you think that side trips can be the best part of a journey?

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

March 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

writing a novel – telling a story

with 4 comments

~

So the poet has decided to write a novel…

~

Title: unknown

Working Title: Saving the Landing Church

Setting: a writers’ retreat and an abandoned church

Characters: main character a writer (not a very successful writer)

Plot (a focusing statement): the story of how a woman tries to preserve an abandoned church with unexpected consequences for herself and for the community

~

Churches are like any building.  They require maintenance.  In these days of striving for energy efficiency, the maintenance may require expensive upgrades – better insulation, energy-efficient windows, calking to seal the cracks…

Unfortunately, maintenance of old buildings, including old churches, can be very expensive.  And the consequences of not maintaining or upgrading a building can be high energy costs, a leaky roof, rotting beams…

Eventually, many church congregations face a difficult decision.  Do they continue to try to maintain an older building in the face of difficult finances and declining attendance?  Or do they build a new building, or perhaps amalgamate with another congregation?

These decisions are especially difficult because churches are meaningful places to the community.  Sometimes generations of families have worshipped there.  They are places of weddings and funerals, baptisms and confirmations, Sunday School concerts and church suppers.  They are places of profound personal experience.  Sometimes, they are also the location of a graveyard where family members and loved ones are buried.  It is not easy for a community to let go of its older churches.

And what happens to an abandoned church?  Some are demolished, some are sold and perhaps re-purposed, some are retained by the congregation as a place for special celebrations.  Some are protected as heritage buildings.  Sometimes church buildings are sold and must be moved to a new location.

My novel will be about one such abandoned church.

As I have learned in the courses I have taken and in my reading, every good story is about someone who wants something, how the someone sets about achieving the goal, and the consequences of achieving the goal.  I have recently taken a course from Deborah Carr, an excellent writing coach (her website (Nature of Words) is at http://www.natureofwords.com/).  She puts it this way: a story follows the pattern of Desire, Struggle, and Resolution.

My novel will be the story of how a woman tries to preserve an abandoned church by bringing it to a new home, with unexpected consequences for herself and for the community.

This will be a complex subject:

  • It will deal with the transformation of a space from a sacred to a secular use.
  • It will be a story about a community and one person’s relationship with the community.
  • And it will be a story about what constitutes the sacred.

~

Are there churches in your area that have been abandoned or re-purposed?

~

Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

December 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

%d bloggers like this: