OUR LAMB HAS CONQUERED – LET US FOLLOW HIM!
MY CURIOUS NATURE TOWARDS CHURCHES
Whilst I am very far from being religious and very far from holding any sort of faith at all, I am fascinated by religion and churches. I think my lack of understanding and personal belief make the world of religions a curious place and churches a strange and alien world to enter.
In my photographic enterprises, I have done a few projects on religion and churches to try and understand peoples faith and beliefs better. I have never really nailed it, but continue to pop into churches wherever I see them and sometimes take a photo if the mood takes me.
Usually a Church is a church is a church and apart from the usual architectural appeal they do not really jump out as being something different. However, when I came upon a very unlikely looking church in Tintern – I couldn’t believe what I saw. I say Tintern, but technically I think it is in Brockweir just outside Tintern!
THE MORAVIAN CHURCH
Greeted by a rather kitch picture of a lamb holding a flag – this was one church that had to be investigated further. The lamb is the symbol of the Moravian Church, which I must confess to not having known anything about prior to stumbling across this strange little church.
With roots going back to the 1400’s the Moravian church is an evangelical protestant movement which focuses its practices on simple doctrine placing importance on unity and piety. Apparently with a worldwide congregation of 850,000 it is not a huge movement – but none the less one that seems to have a congregation in humble Brockweir and a splattering of churches in the UK
It seems to be a rather open church, happy to accept anyone of Christian faith to actively participate in its community.
I have done a bit of research trying to find out more about them, but there isn’t a great wealth of information as far as I have seen – however, they do focus their practises around simple statement know as The Ground of Unity. Here is an extract:
With the whole of Christendom we share faith in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe and confess that God has revealed Himself once and for all in His Son, Jesus Christ; that our Lord has redeemed us with the whole of humanity by His death and His resurrection; and that there is no salvation apart from Him. We believe that He is present with is in the Word and the Sacrament; that He directs and unites us through His Spirit and thus forms us into a Church. We hear Him summoning us to follow Him, and pray Him to use us in His service. He joins us together mutually, so that, knowing ourselves to be members of His body we become willing to serve each other.
Any clearer? No, not sure I am either. The church itself was a strange place – felt more like a cross between a scout hut, someones house and a country chapel
The church was rather plain really, quite protestant in its decoration with nothing particularly fancy.
However, what was always there was the lamb staring at you from the centre of the wall above the altar.
It made a strange but perhaps slightly less oppressive sight than the usual Christ on the cross that is usually in its place.
It never fails to intreague me how very many different religions there are as well as how very many denominations and variations within that religion. People’s thirst for spirituality is something that I suspect I will always be fascinated by but also utterly perplexed by.