During my vacation week I downloaded the first two seasons of HBO's True Blood - a show I had long wanted to check out - to watch while I was doing all of that sewing. (This perhaps contributed to the ultra-slow pace I fell into!) In season two much of the action takes place in a church in Dallas, known as the Fellowship of the Sun.
As soon as Sookie and company stepped into the sanctuary, my heart took flight.
I KNEW that architect.
I had been in two of his chapels.
I had to learn more.
(I imagine this is not the standard reaction to that tv show...but there you have it!)
A quick trip to the magical world of Google helped me to find everything I wanted to know. For all of the details, please check out the Wikipedia page for E. Fay Jones. I won't bore you by trying to summarize what others have said already...in much greater detail than we have the space for here.
However, I did want to share with you some of the magic and majesty of this amazing architecture. There are times when I've tumbled across artists and have just known instinctively that they know something more than the rest of us...that they are more connected to God and the universe, and are able to share that with us all.
The chapels which I have stood in are nothing short of miraculous. You walk in and feel a sense of awe and peace in a space where heaven and earth meet...where the outdoors and the indoors work together to create beauty. They are quiet places to reflect, and I feel rested when I must leave them. My personal connection is closest to the Marjorie Powell Allen Chapel as it's only about an hour away from my parents' home. In fact, I wanted to get married there, and one of my greatest regrets in life is that I didn't stand up for myself to get what I wanted on one of the most important days of my life.
I've been a few times, and every time I end up in tears because it's just so beautiful. Normally I feel I am fairly articulate, but in this case language fails to provide the words necessary to describe the chapel. (Just an FYI...this interior shot makes it look more enclosed than it actually is. There are glass panels between all of those pillars which open the structure up considerably, but the pillars do make it a more intimate structure than some of Jones's other works.)
I was in the 8th grade when my family visited Thorncrown Chapel. Even then I was aware of the fact that I was sharing in something special by merely being in that sacred space. I had never seen anything like it before...you just can't tell where the inside ends and the outdoors begins, and you feel the entire structure stretching upwards towards heaven.
I urge you to take a thorough look at their website as they have many, many beautiful pictures taken during all seasons. I would love to go back someday to see it again.
And for the record, True Blood filmed their church scenes at the SkyRose Chapel, which is part of a Memorial Park in CA. While I do think it's a bit irreverent to film such a show in such a place, I must admit that it was the perfect backdrop for a fictional church that focuses so much on light.
So there you have it, a little bit of inspiration and magic for your Sunday afternoon. I hope your day is as beautiful as mine has been!