Most recently, the number of critical voices regarding the overgrown front of our church has increased. Some took issue with the two dogwood trees covering the two outdoor signs on either side of the church entrance. Others mentioned the unsightliness of the untrimmed yew bushes. Somebody else bemoaned the desolate condition of the hand rails leading up to the three church doors. And I myself miss some special feature like a lively banner or something similar to highlight the main entrance door and to add life to the otherwise immortal architecture and the evergreens surrounding it.
I was surprised, however, to find out that these issues seem to be indigenous to other Reformed Churches as well. The dining hall of our retreat center in Warwick, NY features plates from most Reformed churches with ties to the Center. During our recent retreat, I took the attached pictures. They are from one of the four walls only. Had I had more time, I could have taken many more pictures like these. Can you see how the trees and bushes obstruct the architectural features in each case? Clearly, bushes and trees are important in our overly developed world. As Christians concerned about God’s creation, we will always want to err on the green side. But does this mean that, even on display plates like these, the branches of a tree are more important than the unique features of a particular steeple?
Church Plates at Warwick
The paradigm of Sleeping Beauty saddens me from a faith perspective. I do not find it justifiable for a church of Jesus Christ to conceal itself from the surrounding community. Rather, we are called to be a presence in the world and part of the yeast that changes society. We are called to help people to cope with life and to hold up ethical standards to those who are in leadership positions in our communities and beyond.
Somehow, a hedge of briar roses does not fit this concept.