Inside Holy Trinity, Belvidere


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Holy Trinity, Belvidere, is a rather small village church. It’s really beautiful. I’d “convert” to Anglicanism to go and work there (with my tongue in my cheek ;)). Click on image to enlarge.

A friend, commenting on the photo’s from my holiday quipped, “Maybe churches are such depressing places because they tend to be built in the middle of graveyards.”

Truth? I know he said it in jest but maybe it is true for some. I know for me, and I by no means think I’m a litmus test for the normal or average, graveyards add a bit of personality, character. It’s the spice which flavors the steak so to speak.

Well, I hate leaving things half done. A while back I posted a set of photo’s detailing the grounds and graves of Holy Trinity, Belvidere, but failed to post the pictures taken inside this beautiful little church (click here to check out that set).

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The sanctuary looked 100 years old. I’ve got a photo somewhere of me standing in the pulpit when I was a kid pretending to deliver a fire and brimstone sermon. Click on image to enlarge.

I’ve been visiting this church since I was a child and really love it. For me it’s the quintessential South African village Anglican church.

I was going to ignore this but for the sake of full discloser let me say that the sanctuary in the two Anglican churches I visited in the Knysna area contained altars and not communion tables. Synonyms? Find that interesting? I did. I really need to finish Part 5 of the series on tradition don’t I?








Left: There’s a lot in these stained glasses. This is short hand. Mary, Jesus, heaven above, Mary robed in purple, no halos, older children hugging her (so not the brothers and sisters of Christ… unless the baby isn’t Christ hence the lack of halos), forest and garden scene in the back. Caption reads, “CHARITY SUFFERETH LONG AND IS KIND”. There’s a further dedication below but my Nokia N86 8MP’s flash isn’t the greatest. All the kids and Mary have blond hair! Ever met native Middle Easterners with blond hair?
Middle: Big crown, big halo, lot’s of purple leaves falling down, figure clutching palm branch, blue cloak, blonde (see above), no holes on feet or hands, not Christ, no wings, not angel, symbols everywhere, crosses, five sided stars, coat of arms left middle (got any ideas Mike? I could send a higher definition photo if you like), intricate designs on the stole (this must be a priest? Click here for easy to read information (doctrinal warning, not everyone I link to believes what I believe. I don’t even know if you believe what I believe. I don’t even know if this is necessary to state. :)!), date 1932 – 1933 (bicentenary?). Caption can’t be read (I need a better camera for when I go church spotting).
Right: Multi colored bird above (not a peacock which is an expected symbol of eternal life), red winged angel, blonde (um?), halo, small silver crown, ferns in garden below, I can’t read the caption. Click any image to enlarge.

Wanna check out the church:

This is the second set of photos taken of this church. To view the first set click here.

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Of interesting things outside


Belvidere Holy Trinity Anglican Church

The beautiful little Anglican church in Belvidere, Holy Trinity, is surrounded by tranquil gardens and a wrap around grave yard. Click image to enlarge.

Belvidere is beautiful. If you’re ever in the Knysna area you’ve got to stop over. I’d have liked to have spent more time checking out the other touristy activities in the area but as it were we needed to get back to PE and we wanted to go the the Heads as well.

Holy Trinity, the small Anglican church built in Norman style, is situated in Old Belvidere. It was built by Thomas Henry Duthie and as you walk around the property you’ll notice that a large number of Duthies have been buried on the grounds over the years.

I always photograph grave sites and am very interested in the emblems used on head stones. I thought maybe to post a few of the stones and relate them to the article I wrote last week on crosses. I do this mainly for my own benefit as the investigation into the decals and symbols is fascinating.

St John's cross. Belvidere Holy Trinity Anglican Church

This is St John’s cross. Saint John of Jerusalem was an order setup to care for the frail and sick. The emblem is used by organizations such as St John Ambulance and the Venerable Order of Saint John. It’s a Pattee cross. Click image to enlarge.

IHS, Christogram, Belvidere Holy Trinity Anglican Church

IHS is a common Christogram or monogram that forms an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ. “IHS” is derived from the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus (Ἰησοῦς), iota-eta-sigma. It’s often associated with Catholic influence. I’d be interested to know what the four leafed emblem surrounding the Christogram represent. I automatically thought of the clover but that’s not quite a rounded edge. Any ideas? Click image to enlarge.

Christogram. Belvidere Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Another Christogram. This time inside a circle set in a Latin cross. Click image to enlarge.

Presbyterian cross, Belvidere Holy Trinity Anglican Church

I’m assuming that this is probably a Presbyterian cross rather than a Celtic cross. Presbyterianism developed in Scotland and the <a href="http://www.belvidere.co.za/history/index.html&quot; target="_new"Duthie family hailed from there. My dad has a love for Celtic Christianity which certainly influenced Scottish religion and I’ve observed that the Celtic crosses also superimpose a Latin cross over a circle. Wiki sites the circle as having no inherent meaning but rather being an engineering device to ensure that the arms of the heavy stone cross do not collapse. Having listened to much Celtic tradition involving circles I think that’s highly unlikely. Click image to enlarge.

Dollar sign. Belvidere Holy Trinity Anglican Church

These “almost” dollar signs were everywhere. They’re actually just the IHS Christogram superimposed over itself. Click image to enlarge.

All this got me thinking why none of the graves had the letters R.I.P. emblazoned on them. More on that in a future post? All this gloomy talk. Let’s end in victory! 1 Corinthians 15:55 – 57:

55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wanna check out the church:

Been to any must see churches in your area? I’m wanting to go through to Parys soon, anything there I should check out?

Tradition. Part 4 of 5


Wilderness
Sand, sun and surf

Top: Kaitryn and I at the top of Wilderness (maybe I need a shave?). Bottom: Sun, sand and surf. Click either image to enlarge.

The six year old had a deep conversation with mom today. It went a bit like this.

“Mommy, holiday is wonderful.”

“Yes it is.”

“Mommy, can we stay here forever?”

“No, Kaitlyn, we can’t, daddy’s got to go back to his job… and what about all your friends? Sophia and Sarah and Stevie?”

“Oh.”

A few seconds later, after a bit of comtemplation, “Mommy, it’ll be ok. They can move here and stay with us.”

Actually I wouldn’t mind moving to Wilderness or Nature’s Valley but the doctor I saw yesterday says I’m allergic to the Eastern Cape. The province is playing havoc with my respiratory system. Besides which my kids are already a handful imagine them and three other friends!

Carmel
Carmel
Carmel

Carmel has to be the plushest Christian facilities I’ve ever seen. Click any image to enlarge.

Today we headed a little further down the coast, Westward, as far as the Christian retreat, Carmel, in the Wilderness area. It’s owned, or run, or associated in some way with the Anglican Church of South Africa (I think). My dad held a retreat there last week and described the facility as breath taking, which it was. I couldn’t photograph the church as there was a Diocesan Synod on the go and when I listened in at the door they’d only just kicked off on the First Eucharistic Pray which meant they had a while to go.

I love the Anglican Liturgy, I really do. It’s not every bodies cup of tea but I love the way it empowers the congregation to partake meaningfully and the focus and balance it provides the worship service from start to finish. Now at the back of mind I’m still chewing on the idea of tradition in Christianity. Tonight I’d like to sketch out a few relevant definitions.

Firstly culture. The word culture in our century goes hand in hand with anthropology. It really encompasses all the human phenomenon that are not purely resultant from genetics. It’s really the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classify and represent their unique experiences, and act creatively. I’m African. In the Church environment I’m from it’s not so difficult to notice that Western Europeans often enjoy complicated musical arrangements accompanied by a complex array of musical instruments. It gets their toes tapping and sometimes even a bit of clapping. African music on the other hand has rich base tones and a rhythmic beat. Forget the toe tapping this music almost demands a bit of a dance. It’s Michael Bolton juxtaposition to Siyakudumisa.

Tradition is more about the beliefs or customs taught by one generation to the next or a set of customs or practices. I spent some time in Israel last year. I saw churches commemorating the spot that Mary ascended into heaven. That’s right, it’s been handed down from generation to generation that Mary didn’t die but rather ascended into heaven in much the same way that Jesus did. That’s a tradition. I do traditions too. Like Christmas for instance, with a tree and presents and turkey. It’s tradition.

Lastly there’s the word ritual. A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. When I think of Christian rituals my mind jumps to communion and baptism. But there’s other rituals celebrated by other believers within the realms of Christendom. Take weddings for instance, offerings or even lent.

Culture, tradition and ritual. None inherently bad or good (except for that Mary thing).

Maybe to close with Paul’s words in 2 Thesallonians 2:15:

15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word {of mouth} or by letter from us.

I’m braaiing at the moment and need to put the chops on. I guess more musings tomorrow.

Wanna find Carmel? Check out the Google Maps location:

What traditions do you hold to? Does culture influence your Christian experience? Positively? Negatively? When you think ritual what comes to mind? What are Christian ordinances?

Tradition. Part 3 of 5


The cross

The cross is a global symbol of the Christian faith. Click image to enlarge.

Did you read the last post? I made a statement, “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.” It occurred to me after the fact that perhaps not many have a clue what I’m talking about (possibly even fewer care but that’s another matter).

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the cross comes in many shapes and sizes. Not? Well it does, different people have iconized… mmm. Perhaps the way I’m using that word, iconized, needs some interpretation and context?

Roadsigns

mmm, in retrospect I should have thought of crossroads! Click image to enlarge.

I arrived in the Eastern Cape for our family holiday via a SAA plane but Liezl and kids drove down the national highway. But let’s say they took a tortuous road up a mountain pass and saw a road sign with a few pebbles falling down a steep hill, then they’d know to watch out for fallen rocks, right? Maybe a little later they saw a sign of two cars passing each other inside a passageway, then they’d have known a tunnel was coming up. Well, the rock fall and the tunnel have been iconized into signs, symbols.

The cross has been iconized over the centuries as well. You might be thinking “that’s awful” and maybe it is but it’s still affected your thinking. You see, round the time of Christ’s crucifixion the cross represented a terrible torturous death, a symbol of humiliation to the Roman mind and the mark of a curse to the Jew (check out this post for more). Now days we give it too our children to wear around their necks as a pretty little token.

Where were we? Oh yes, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the cross comes in many shapes and sizes. Not? Well it does, different people have iconized it in different ways. A crucifix for example emphasizes Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross whereas an empty cross emphasizes Jesus’ resurrection and victory over death but either way they no longer mean what Jesus meant when He said:

And He was saying to {them} all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Here’s the crosses that I considered during the investigation of the glass of St George’s church in Knysna:

Also known as the Latin cross. It is the most common symbol of Christianity. It represents the death of Jesus and His resurrection.
Chief symbol of the Presbyterian church.
The Patonce cross which has expanded ends terminating in floriated points. The three petals represent the Trinity and the total twelve petals represent the Apostles.
The Pattée cross has splayed arm ends. The name ‘pattée’ comes from the French for ‘paw’.
The Fleur-de-lis cross is a cross adorned with lily petals at the arm-ends, and is very similar to the Fleurie Cross and the Patonce Cross with liliform ends. Not only do the arm-ends represent flowers, but they also have the appearance of a barbed fightingspear. Therefore these crosses are used mainly in heraldry, especially in France.
The Floriated cross is a cross with arms terminating in representations of flower petals. The flower is typically a lily.

So there you have it. An explanation for the statement, “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.”

Paul once said,

23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

You see the symbolic meaning that we attach to the cross might have changed but the truth of what it represents, the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for the remissions of sins, remains a mystery to those who choose to stumble around in the dark after their own desires.

And on that note I’m off to the doctor.

What other kinds of crosses have you come across? St George’s cross? St Andrew’s cross? The Jerusalem cross? Do you understand the meaning or history that each is attempting to portray? Is the traditional understanding of these things important in any way?

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.

Tradition. Part 1 of 5


Till death do us part

My brother in law takes amazing photos. This, I think, is the most artsy one I’ve attempted (and with my new cellphone, a Nokia N86 8MP). This was taken on the R62 at Kareedouw. Click image to enlarge.

Liezl, the girls and I briefly stopped by Knysna on the way to Sedgefield this afternoon. Thing is there’s these two churches on main street that I really wanted to check out; you probably know the type: old, stone and Anglican? It’s a tradition you see, the stopping and checking that is, I kinda remember them from when I was a kid and now pop in to visit every time I swing past. When I was younger my dad’d say, “mmm, Let’s check out the old Anglican church over there, wouldn’t that be interesting?” Never quite got it then however now that I’m aging into living fossil status I guess I’m allowed the same eccentricities.

Till death do us part

I have strong memories of Storms River Bridge and the whole Tsitsikamma area from when I was a child. Man, I love being here. Click image to enlarge.

The road trip to Knysna was, well… inspiring. And absolutely beautiful. South Africa rocks! And Spring has clearly almost Sprung, already some of the more eager trees are budding. Everything is lovely. We left PE on the N1 but a bit down the tracks we picked up a meander which steered us away from the safety of the coast line and the national road and into hill country. The R62 winds through a few one horse towns and on the way past one of them the girls decided they needed a pit stop. The deep blue skies framed the scrap metal yard behind the local garage in Kareedouw. It was so… back road Eastern Cape. I just had to shoot it.

Next stop Storms River Bridge. What a beautiful gorge and some of the best biltong I’ve had in months (at R200 a kg however I get the feeling they’re catering for the overseas stomach).

Till death do us part

These rivers run black with the heavy mineral deposits of the mountains. This was taken just outside Nature’s Valley. Click image to enlarge.

If you live in sunny SA then you know that the country’s getting a face lift for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Basically every piece of road in the land is being pulled up and retarred resurfaced (I have no idea how to spell this. Any helpers?). Well about 150 kilometres away from the destination we were forced onto a subsiderary which linked us onto the R102. The road less traveled veered back to the jagged coast line, the sea breeze and a quaint town named Nature’s Valley.

This is part 1 of a series, and although it looks like it’s about my vacation it’s actually about Scripture. Now the particular Scripture for this post needs a bit of context. I’m trying to warm you to my thought angle lest you think I think in intangibles. My brother-in-law and I began this thought process a few nights ago. Our topic was tradition and Scripture and the question was what is it that really informs our belief and practice in this crazy day and age (he makes me jump hoops every time we get together)? More about these things tomorrow dear reader, today, God’s Word, 2 Timothy 3:14 – 15:

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Wanna find St George’s:

In addition to St George’s and the church at Brenton on Sea are there any others I have to check out while I’m in this part of the world (time considered as I need to go sailing tomorrow and teach my older daughter to fish)?

St Alban’s Cathedral


Kaitlyn, Kathryn and I headed to Pretoria this morning to check out St Alban’s Cathedral. Click to enlarge.

This morning Liezl and a few woman met at our house for their bimonthly Ruby Club. mmm, Ruby Club… it almost sounds like a prosperity Gospel thing but it’s not. It’s based on Proverbs 31:10: “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” Anyway, my jewel needed space which meant I needed to take care of the kids. Saturday morning, 4 hours to kill, what to do, what to do? Why not go church spotting (yes, I know, my inner geek is not a recluse)?

I decided to head through to Pretoria, about a 30 minute drive. There’s two churches in the Central Business District I’m keen to photograph, St Alban’s Cathedral (Anglican) and a Presbyterian church a few hundred meters on.

Um, before I go on I probably need to say that if I was a good church spotter I’d know the basics. Like make sure that your wife’s camera has charged batteries in it. I ran out of flash after about 10 shots and the camera completely melted down after 20. I wasn’t able to document everything I wanted to but this will give you a taste.

Left: I really love the earthy brown of the stone in and around Pretoria. I’m fairly sure that this church was built in two parts. There’s a stone walled section that is now used as a sanctuary with two adjoined chapels and a brick built area which used as a congregational space. That said it might be by design. Right: This section of the church is part of what I presume is the extension. If the original sanctuary is “old school” kinda high church. The extensions feel more art deco, I’m guess ±1940 or so. Even as I’m writing this I’ve realized I know the previous Dean. I must ask him for more info. Click either photo to enlarge.

For me the greatest feature was the small old North and East facing stained glass around the sanctuary but unfortunately I didn’t have enough juice to get those. The North facing large stained glass was quite beautiful though. It reminded me of the mod look in St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town.

Far-Left: I’m assuming this is John the Baptist. I’m thinking that he’s dressed in camel’s hair (Matthew 3:4), with streams of water gushing out of a baptismal font (Matthew 3:11). This might be taking it too far but I think he’s standing in a road (Matthew 3:3) . Certainly the lamb with the cross represents Christ (John 1:29). It then stands to reason why the baptismal font has the Greek letters Α and Ω (Revelations 1:8). Notice the dove out of heaven (Matthew 3:16). Center-Left: Here we have Mary with the Christ. I couldn’t figure the sun, moon crescent and 12 stars above her. Below you’ve got a single angel, presumed to be Gabriel (Luke 1:26) rather than the host (Luke 2:13). The symbol to the right of the angel is the Chi Rho (a christogram formed by superimposing the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word Christ). I wonder if there was any intent behind the sun beams bursting out from behind Mary rather than the Christ? Maybe a Anglo-Catholic (see the Bible discussion). Center-Right: Jesus Christ before crucifixion because His hands are visible but show no scars (John 20:27), and also before the second coming because of His brilliant white outer garment (Revelation 19:13). Above there is a gold crown and sceptre. An interesting three pronged design I assume symbolises the Trinity (although there seem to be two additional symmetrical upwards lines). The purple around Christ would normally be taken to symbolise kingship. On the left is a spear (John 19:34), a whip (Isaiah 53:5). In the centre is a crown of thorns (John 19:5). On the right is a cross (1 Corinthians 1:23), nails and a hammer (John 20:25). What is Jesus standing on? Mmm, just wondering. Far-Right: Joseph stands as an old man (spot his grey, I’m thinking this is an accident). Bethlehem (Luke 2:4) with star (Matthew 2:2) hangs above him. Again we have an angel underneath (Matthew 2:13) and he is leading Mary and Christ down to Egypt. As I read through all the imagery above I’m struck by how frequently there is reference to Matthew’s Gospel. I’m wondering if that was a theme. Make sure you click a photo to enlarge (I wish I had more bandwidth to put the original high definition shots up).

There was lot’s of interesting stuff in and around the sanctuary however the three photo’s below was all I could take. I found it interesting that the “pew Bible” was NRSV with apocryphal and duetocanonical books. I guess this informations intersects my mind while I’m thinking about the fundamentals of the faith. Ha, I must be the most high church low church person I’ve ever met ;).


Left: The Bishops throne. mmm. Top-Right: The inscription is from Ely Cathedral. I’m following that one up. Bottom-Right: CPSA’s favorite son (and mine in many ways). Click any photo to enlarge.

St Alban’s Cathedral is a very beautiful city center church. Wanna find it:

Any other gotta see churches in the Gauteng area? You got a favorite church? Maybe you can’t stand churches? All types to make the world go round :).