"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, October 17, 2008

From the Road

Dashboard photography, I-93 North

I'm blogging tonight from my room at an inn in a northerly town. Our Diocesan Council, with Bishop and one of his canons, is in the midst of a 2-day driving tour of our North Country parish churches and seasonal chapels. It has been a glorious day to be out and about in our beautiful, colourful state.

A little while ago on the phone, as I recounted my adventures to the Chap, I realised I'd been inside eight churches between noontime and seven-thirty tonight.

En route from Church #1 to our first seasonal chapel, our calvalcade of five vehicles pulled over for a photo op.

Not far down the road, we came to the chapel.

Love this sign!

At every stop, we were met by the priest or a member of the vestry who shared the history of the building and congregation, it various ministries--and challenges. These churches are mostly situated in mill and factory towns. The paper mills are nearly all gone, manufacturing has fled, the economy was dire long before the present financial crisis struck so hard. But back in the days when jobs were plentiful and the money was flowing and summer tourism in these mountains was roaring, an incredible amount of treasure and skill went into the creation of these northern churches and chapels.

It was truly a day to shoot postcard photos.

Bell tower of the church pictured above.

We saw exquisite examples of stained glass artistry.

Traditional windows.

Traditional in form with contemporary elements.

A celebration of local geography.

Detail from a window brimming with local colour. Note the moose, the fisher on the log, and a ruffed grouse with feathers ruffed up. The faces on the left commenorate actual parishioners.

Every church and chapel has its Bishop's chair, and I made a point of photographing each one.

We admired the many forms of art, especially this beautiful trout triptych hanging above a baptismal font.

On arriving at the northernmost parish--a stone's throw from Quebec--we were greeted with pies! Apple, coconut cream, lemon meringue. And coffee. A much appreciated boost to our blood sugar levels!

At that point we ran out of diocese and backtracked, driving nearly an hour and a half through the darkness, eyes peeled for stray moose. We were made welcome by the priest and parshioners of this fine town, and after Evening Prayer they fed us a delicious and expansive potluck supper in their magnificent parish hall--relatively new.

Most of the Council members are spending the night in local households. A handful of us rolled down the hill to Main Street to the inn.

As tour coordinator (the task of planning began in the spring) I'm well and truly pleased, and vastly relieved that everything went according to plan. So far.

Tomorrow we're attending a Celebration of New Ministry service in the state's best known distressed mill town, and conclude our tour at a church in a mountain resort famous for its outlet shopping.

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