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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Update: The church was sold on May 1. More information here.

The Parish Church of Christ the King, the Diocese of Western Michigan, Portage, is on the block owing to that old familiar story in the Episcopal Church, an ageing and declining membership unable to keep up with the costs. It's always sad to see a church, any church, close down but this one, as you shall see, is a particularly sad case.

The architecture of Christ the King (belfry above) is risible, in the the aptly named "Brutalism" style of the 60s and 70s that found so much favor once with designers of government buildings,

public housing,

and above all, the academy,

the only place left on earth where one can still find those who speak favorably of this style (and its philosophical soul mate, Marxism). Since those lucky souls don't have to work for a living nor live in the real world, they can be forgiven their idiocies trespasses, I suppose.

Less easy to forgive is an architect that induced a small diocese to spend a lot of money forty years ago to build a monstrosity like this:

It just screams, "Come unto Me," doesn't it? Another angle:

Oh my, talk about putting God in an awfully small box! Let's go inside.

Mercy! And in case you're wondering, that big ol' ceement stool (three-legged, at least!) is the altar. Now for the nave/sanctuary/narthex/transept/whatever:

The place could almost double as an operating theater!

Lest I get accused of kicking this unfortunate institution when it is down, I am mindful God is wherever people look for Him, be it Durham, Chartres, St. Peter's Basilica or Christ the King Parish Church in Portage, MI. And even if that parish seems to have swallowed hook, line and sinker the revisionist cant ("In our celebration of the Eucharist, there is no one who is ineligible or unwelcome" says their homepage), we cannot rejoice in their possible demise but only express sadness that they have reached this state, one that could have been avoided had their church on both a local and national level made wiser decisions over the years.

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