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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

March 15, 2013

SOAKED INTO THE STONES                          

You have to wonder what ONE visitor was thinking.

It was last Sunday at the beginning of our 100th Anniversary Celebration. One hundred years ago last week our Community Church was formed. It seemed like we should acknowledge that in some fashion. So we began the service in the historic Gladden Chapel, where it all began on March 4, 1913. We packed our worship congregation in the chapel for a few minutes and then adjourned to the main sanctuary before the local fire marshal got wind of what we were doing. We even had our own member: Fred Coggin dressed as Washington Gladden, the actual preacher who helped form our church.

Our ushers directed everyone to the Gladden Chapel for the first 15 minutes, but one visitor (a friend of Mike and Lisa Bowersock, and who has been to worship here before) came a bit later. No ushers caught him and he sat in the main sanctuary by himself for a few minutes. He was not quite sure what was happening when suddenly the entire congregation streamed into the main sanctuary and down the aisle comes Washington Gladden (distinguished goatee and black suit) and the service began again.

I imagine a few other visitors who were first timers were a bit baffled by it all, as were the kids during the children’s sermon. Right behind them on the first pew sat Washington Gladden.

We have been at 81 W. Bridge Street since 1877, thirty-five years before the merger of the three Dublin Churches. And prior to that, we were just down the street in another church building.

The writer Kathleen Norris tells us that a sense of place is important to us, whether in an individual or a collective sense. She writes that we search for a “place” in which to locate ourselves. Those who do not have that sense of “place” will continually search for one.

In a modern world where people move more than ever it is unusual for anyone or any institution to be rooted in one place for very long. But, that is precisely what has been our good fortune. We’d like to think it was the Holy Spirit, which is alive among us. I believe that to be so.

So, we HAD to begin in the Gladden Chapel last Sunday. One writer tells of Winchester Cathedral which she visited and she thought of that historic place which had heard countless voices raised in song over the centuries and how those voices “soaked into the stone walls.” The prayers had “soaked into the stones and windows.”
It is the same with Dublin Community Church. The walls of the entire building are sacred, but the Gladden Chapel has soaked in those prayers, songs, sermons, words of marriage and burial over the years. Those sacred moments reside within the structure itself. How glorious to add one more Sunday’s-worth of words and songs.

And we know its importance, even if we baffle our visitors.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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