Sacred Teepees by Dwight Longenecker

Sacred Teepees

Dwight Longenecker on Modern Church Architecture

I am lucky. My job as a charity representative means I visit a different Catholic parish every weekend. Traveling around southwest England gives me the chance to indulge one of my favorite hobbies: church snooping. Any church is interesting—even modern preaching halls have a homely silence about them. But I admit I don’t usually aim for the Methodist halls and Baptist chapels. I look out for the old-timers.

Church snooping here in England means pulling up in little villages to explore those humble historic treasures, the ancient parish churches. I never get tired of spotting the tower of a distant village, then pulling off the road, traipsing across the ancient churchyard to see if the door just might be open. Philip Larkin recounted the same gentle obsession in his poem “Church Going”:

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