Design your own chapel

I’ve been pondering what I’d do if I won the Euro Lottery this week. No, I don’t buy lottery tickets, European or otherwise, but it is nice to dream.  Housing would always be right up there on the list and that’s probably true for most clergy. Tied housing makes for great insecurities and fretting. As I dreamt of this house that I’d buy with my millions I allowed my thoughts to stray to the chapel that I’d build or convert.  Well you need a little holy space to go to, don’t you?

Many years ago a crowd of us used to go on Parish Outings down south. We usually travelled down on Easter Monday and then visited a cathedral city on the Tue – Thu and then travelled home again on the Friday.  As a result I have been guided round many English cathedrals (and their wee shops).  I do remember one journey where, with the help of Gin & Tonic in the back of the bus, we all designed our own private chapels.  We shared our dreams with one another and an otherwise tedious journey was transformed into great fun. (We were probably somewhere flat like Norfolk where there were no views to entertain us, we Scots needing hills to keep us sane.) I can’t remember now what my ideal chapel would look like but I’m guessing it bore some resemblance to St Michael & All Saints and reeked of incense with statues of many saints including St Rita. Actually come to think of it, I do remembering being impressed with one cathedral where the Reserved Sacrament was suspended mid-air above the central altar and that wherever you were in the building, you faced God. I’m sure that was in my ideal chapel back then.

This week my dreams of chapel design have probably been much more simple. Lots of wood and comfy chairs feature heavily. A good sound system would be important and a loud ticking clock for atmosphere in those quiet moments. Lots of art to meditate upon – or maybe just a screen upon which they could be projected. Beads to clack. A book to write in.

So what would your dream chapel look like?  What treasures lie therein?


8 thoughts on “Design your own chapel

  1. Interesting that the ticking clock should feature! I’m reminded of a certain ‘silent’ retreat on Cumbrae and the subsequent write-up in the magazine of a certain spikey church in the East …

  2. My imagined massive lottery win on the Euro lottery (which I too don’t enter) brought a few simple practical improvements to our church: I built a small extension to the north of our Saxon tower to house a lavatory and a small kitchen, and turned the west window of our Victorian north aisle into a door to lead into it. I then put in efficient heating and lighting (including in the vestry which, unlike the rest of the church, has no heating at all efficient or inefficient). mentioned this to another member of the PCC and her thoughts regarding her imagined lottery win had followed precisely the same course.

  3. Oh well, if we’re talking current church then I’d get the decorators in with shades of purple and lilacs. I’d get new lighting where the bulbs can be easily changed with a dimming facility. I’d get a new loop and sound system with CD and MP3 facilities in the sanctuary and by remote control. And…

    But we should be counting our blessings, shouldn’t we, that we have a lav (2 actually!) and kitchen at least?

  4. your longing for the clock made me laugh. In Dunblane the timer for the heating offers a loud and steady ‘tick tick tick tick tick ‘ and it drives me crazy when I’m seeking silence.

    I would never have imagined it could be a liturgical aid.

  5. Well I would prefer the sonorous tock of a grandfather clock to the central heating timer, that’s for sure. My son goes around taking batteries out of clocks and stopping pendulums when he is staying over.

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