Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Crawfordsville, Indiana

September 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

We got on the road before six a.m. today hoping to make it to services at Saint John’s. The flat farmland of central Ohio took on gentle slopes as we moved into Indiana. Colors bloomed in the early morning light as a giant red sun rose behind us. Headed west, we faced a vanishing full moon that paled in the sun’s salmon glow.

About an hour from Crawfordsville, J started to ask for our friend, Hannah. She is one of the dear people we will miss back in New Martinsville. He said he wanted her to be sitting in the car we were towing, and that he wanted her to see volcanoes with us on the other side. Big tears slid slowly out of his eyes as he described how much he longed for her. No matter what I brought up to engage him, his answer was, “I don’t care about that. I only care about Hannah right now.”

I got Hannah on the phone right away, hoping the sound of her voice would comfort him. Instead, his little voice trembled and broke. He could barely speak to her. He squeezed his eyes shut against his aching heart and turned his face toward the window. These are big changes. It is hard for us both.

I also learned a good lesson early this morning. From now on, I will allow an extra hour for construction and 3-year-old bathroom breaks. We walked through the doors just in time for the final song of the service.

Saint John’s nave

Worn out from almost six hours on the road, we both felt a leap of energy when we heard the djembe, a large West African drum. I’m not sure if it was played throughout the service, or if it is played regularly, but we joined the line of children marching around the church and lent our energy to this last, spirited song of their worship service

Built in 1837, Saint John’s is the oldest church building on our trip

In the parish house, donations for our mission trip to South Dakota were waiting on the table. Our guide, vestry member Chas Cooksey, was ready to show us the church, but my sweet babe was ready to crack from hours in the car. J told me no, pictures later, park now.

Our new friend, Kim, walked with us to play at a local park. J laughed with delight at the number of squirrels in Crawfordsville. We didn’t have nearly as many where we’d come from in West Virginia. Having grown up eating squirrel, I couldn’t help but wonder if West Virginia has nibbled down their own populations.

Kim was a great companion for J while Chas showed me around Saint John’s. There are many unique features to enjoy in this striking old church. One of them is a more recent addition, a children’s sanctuary.

I was touched by this children's sanctuary with it's scaled down alter and pews

Another beautiful feature of Saint John’s was their columbariam where church members can have their ashes interred. Built in 1997, Mary Jane Timpany was the first congregant at Saint John’s to be laid to rest there.

The author of “The Story of Saint John’s and It’s People”, Fern W. Brill, was also interred here when she passed away at the amazing age of 99

The rich beauty of the stained glass window above the altar brings vivid color and depth to the space. Installed in the 1870′s, the window is beautifully restored.

One of my favorite features of Saint John’s are the niches on either side of the window. The soundness of this structure is impressive. It was actually rolled to the current location on logs in 1837. It got stuck in the mud and spent the winter bogged down before it could be freed.

Saint John’s is in the National Register of Historic Places. They are hoping to acquire a new plaque that will reflect the actual age of this 175-year-old church.

Saint John’s choir loft is in the balcony with the pipe organ. The balcony wasn’t part of the original church building, but it is a wonderful addition.

The nave and the pipe organ in Saint John’s choir loft

Saint John’s, thank you for making the second day of this fantastic adventure a wonderful one. We are so grateful for your participation, and for your contributions to our mission. Your time and fellowship was a blessing to us. I hope we get the chance to come, again.

After six hours of driving that big contraption earlier today, I am pooped. I think I will be in bed before nine so we can rise, shine, and do it again tomorrow. Peace to you all, dear friends.