Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Simple Gifts

An Ancestral Roofs visitor recently paid me a lovely compliment,  politely asking for permission to print and frame a photo from a post. That photo was attempting to capture the serenity of the place we were visiting that frosty morning, and I am pleased that it conveyed something of value to Marianne.

rather 'modern' Gothic touch
 Those kinds of places, a bit of grace in a hectic world, pop up occasionally. Sometimes they are places I am seeking. More often, they appear around that proverbial bend in the road. These three structures gave me great gifts recently.

My friend Larry has often mentioned the 1896 Wooler Friends Meeting House. Of the Quaker persuasion himself, he has promised to bring me to meeting some time. As it turns out, I came upon the place by happy accident last fall, on a back-roads trip toward the village of Hastings.

After an autumn wander in the silence of the historic cemetery, watching the sun travel the sky, I believe I have already experienced something very special here.  Peace.

 Later on the same journey, I passed through the settlement of Cramahe Hill, near Morganston. I was in my autumn road trip happy place, enjoying the warm sun in the Northumberland county hills, loving the curves and climbs of a delightful concession road, when this little white frame church popped into view around a bend.

simple panelled doors, white clapboard
Such a dear plain little place, simple enough to be another Quaker meeting house, with its windowless gable facing the road, plain panelled door, clad in white painted wood. Down the side, three unadorned windows. A shady cemetery on the crest of the hill.

A simple white frame structure, unadorned even by contrasting paint colour on window trim or door. Understated. Leaving room for us witnesses to find the beauty.

you'd never tire of this vista

This lovely little spot - the 1884 Christian Church - must have a story, a congregation. The cemetery on the crest of the hill reminds us that it has had one, for a long time.

I must add a third lovely community church to this post. Last spring, I travelled with a group of Hastings County Historical Society types on a backroads tour ("Tales from the Hastings Woods") led by historian/writer Bill Hunt. As it was to turn out, it was Bill's last; he passed away not long ago, and we are bereft.

This little church, beloved of the local volunteers who maintain it, and open it for a service each summer - as well as for us that day - is Hazzards Corners United Church. Friend Katherine is one of that faithful group of supporters. Her homage on the outstanding blog Meanwhile, at the Manse  says it better than I ever could.

Volunteer Grant toured us around the simple church built by Methodists in 1857, in this tiny rural community north of Madoc (imagine how hard life would have been for them, and how huge was this committment to faith?) and invited us to visit the cemetery. He was proud to point out the outdoor convenience with its ecclesiastical window.

It was a memorable visit for everyone. For me, the heady scent of the black locust trees in full bloom towering over the simple country church bordered on a religious experience.

1 comment:

  1. Such a gentle, peaceful way to begin the day. Thank you, my friend. And thank you for reminding me of my promise to take you to the Wooler Friends Meeting House...when the weather is warmer.