Tradition. Part 2 of 5

I really love the coast. Click any image to enlarge.

This morning (ah, this was written last night) the girls woke up at the crack of dawn. Because they have neither an off switch nor volume control it wasn’t long until Liezl and I were up too. Soon after breakfast we headed to the mouth of the vlei where we spent a few hours exploring the caves along the seashore, picking up flat pebbles and playing hop scotch (ok, the hop scotch was mainly played by the kids). In the afternoon we hit the paddle boats and sought high adventure upon open waters after which we feasted on fresh feesh and slap chips (R10 a meal! Yum Yums in Sedgefield, it’s not high cuisine but it’s reel food and it tasted reel good).

I love holidays.

Maybe you remember yesterday’s post (click here)? I was out collecting churches and chatting about tradition and Scripture and all? Anyway we visited St George’s church in Knysna. It’s actually quite amusing, there’s three little churches all lined up in a row, a light brown stone chapel close to the road, a pink plastered blemish on the other side of the street and St George’s nestled in between. The contrast between the colors and styles of these churches made them each stick out like a sore thumb.

Left: The old brown monument. Center: St George’s, the chocolate church of fun. Right: The church of the pink unicorn (for all I know they’re probably a bunch of perfectly nice Baptists. But PINK! Come on folks, who was on the paint selection committee?).

St George’s is a gorgeous dark chocolate stoned beauty. I’m thinking it must be about 83 years old because the cap stone was laid by the Bishop of George, a Right Reverend Henry Bindley Sidwell on September the 12th 1926.

Walking into the church caught me a bit by surprise, the stained glass (something I have always had an interest in) is quite, unusual. Walking in you get what you’d expect, a typical one hundred yearish looking glass but as you look around the church you’re struck by something new, something entirely unexpected, the rest of the glass is quite contemporary, even modern looking. Liezl wasn’t nuts about it but I thought it was quite appropriate, the traditional and the new, merged together into something beautiful.

The top most arched window has the familiar A and Ω Greek characters which call to mind Revelation 1:8 and the deity of Jesus Christ. I was interested in the design of the Alpha character itself and spent some time poking around to see if there was additional meaning associated with it but pulled a blank other than this picture which has the pope in the background (click here) and this image of the burial of Christ (click here).
If there was a circle in it I’d have said that the cross was a Presbyterian device, however I think it’d be more technical to call it a Patonce Cross. In heraldry, the three petals would represent faith, wisdom and chivalry however in the Christian context it more likely that they represent the Trinity. Under the cross two winged and haloed angels (with a pin prick white dot above them) bear a banner, on the left reading, “Let us sing” and on the right reading “unto the Lord”. Psalm 95 triumphantly opens with the chorus, “O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”
Below the upper arches are the two main bodies of the stained glass. On the left a woman plays a pipe organ with an angel above her looking down. The caption below reads, “To the glory of God and in undying remembrance of my beloved wife Helen Edien Fox 1974-1949 Endued with the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 4)”. On the right hand side a two angels listen intently. There is a sheet of music lying on the ground. The caption below reads, “My soul doth magnify the LORD and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour This window was given by her husband”. Click image to enlarge.

As I walked up to the sanctuary… maybe I’ll leave that for tonight’s post.

Wanna find St George’s:

Do you enjoy beautiful churches? Why do some churches look one way and others another? Is it all just down to taste or are there other differences? I’ve got some thoughts on this… in tonight’s post.


3 thoughts on “Tradition. Part 2 of 5

  1. The pink certainly is an unsuitable colour!
    I always found it sad that the original church – designed by Sophy Gray – was never expanded, as Sophy had planned.
    Instead St George’s was built alongside, and the old church was used for “native” services.
    Not sure how it is used today.

    • Hi there Mike,

      That’s interesting and makes a whole lot of sense (also the pink part).

      I think the old church is now a dusty stone monument. That happens to churches over time. I like the feel of the newer slightly larger upgrade. I just couldn’t understand why it was built next to a church of almost the same size. Maybe you’ve answered that for me. South Africa is an interesting place.



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