Small Churches

Someone recently asked me, “when are you going to do something big again?” It’s true, the last few years of my life have been pretty quiet. It’s been a long time since I built something big or tried something unique. I think I have an idea to change that situation.

I want to leave something behind that is hard to ignore, tear-down and disappear for lack of maintenance. I need to build something that doesn’t cost too much but gives me the opportunity to be creative and increase my skills. I want to express myself in a way that means something to me.
I want to build a small church. We’ve had a cemetery here for years-a home to deceased pets. It makes sense to build a place of worship, cemetery-adjacent. Lisa and I have both been bitten by the tiny-house movement so the church would be very small but hold architectural elements we both like and building techniques of which I have long marveled.

Most of my projects take about three years to complete. This time includes creating a plan, gathering material, setting aside money and then finally the build. Don’t expect pictures anytime soon.

I have always loved the idea of log-end construction and stacked stone construction. Log-end construction is chunks of log stacked and mortared with their ends facing out. My thoughts are that the sidewalls would be constructed in this way and the gable ends would be rock. I think the rock would be the manufactured kind as I hate the idea of picking rock. Again, this is a long-term project.

The idea of a tiny church got me thinking; what is the future of the little churches that were built in the last century or even prior to that time? It is easy to imagine that these churches will fall into disrepair and eventually be torn down.
My thoughts are that religion is no longer very homogeneous-even within organized faiths. Perhaps these different perspectives on faith will lead to smaller congregations as people seem to gather in smaller groups of those with similar ideas. Our nation is slowly transitioning away from the large-scale consumerism, maybe we will consume our religion in the same way. If it does, a standard congregation could be quite small and a church built based on smaller square footage which is less-expensive to heat and easier to maintain, could be just the ticket.

So, what will I do with my little church? First, I will build it which gives a person an incredible amount of ownership. Mostly, I hope that my church reminds me daily of my faith and perhaps inspires others to wonder what would cause a mostly untalented, wanna-be tradesman to attempt such as task. It will also be a testament to my faith as I will need to use a ladder. Anyone who hates heights as much as me but regularly uses a ladder just has to feel close to God

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