Annual Meeting and update on classroom teaching

posted Jan 24, 2013, 5:59 AM by Amelia Fannin   [ updated Jan 24, 2013, 5:59 AM by in apropos ]
Childcare will be provided throughout the Annual Meeting.
Nursery care is available for three and under. 
Children three and up are invited to join Fiona in the Small Hall after lunch.

This Sunday, while you all attend to the body and mind of the church, I will be teaching the children about the physical church, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on that subject here.  In some sense the first church was the Upper Room in which the disciples met on the feast of Pentecost.  This was the place where they had eaten together, where Jesus had washed their feet, where they chose a replacement for Judas. 
The book of Acts tells us that initially Jesus' followers met together in their houses for meals, but also in the courts of the temple.  That all stopped when Stephen was stoned to death, and the Roman occupiers and Jewish leaders began to see the Christians as trouble makers.  It was then that Jesus' followers began to travel beyond Jerusalem, spreading the word of Jesus further and further.  Paul tells us that when they met together in people's homes, Christians re-enacted the ritual of the bread and wine that Jesus performed, and asked them to remember him by, on the last night of his life.  Some of these homes were redesigned for use as a gathering place for Christian worship, prayer and shared meals.  One of these converted homes dates from 235 AD. 
This all changed when Christianity became a state religion.  Gradually the Christian church's places, rituals and vestments of worship developed, showing a lot of Roman influence.  The first churches were shaped like the Basilica, a stone-built public hall with one rounded end, pillars and small rooms on the two sides.  Christians added transepts to make the footprint of the church cross-shaped.  Grace Church is essentially a basilica church. 

In the last 100 years, modern architectural ideas have spread to the design of churches, and congregations have had the opportunity of discussing what their church should look like, what, if anything, it should contain other than a worship space, whether it should be richly decorated or stark and simple.  Some modern churches look almost like spaceships - others incorporate the creative influence of wonderful artists like Gaudi and Matisse.  Others still are down-to-earth and practical, with showers for the homeless, and industrial scale kitchens to feed the hungry.  What do you believe a church should be like?  Think about the churches you have attended in your lifetime.  What was special about each one?  What do you love about Grace Church?  Just as Christians have built churches, those churches have formed Christians, and we are much the richer for it. 

Fiona Vidal-White