Have you ever seen an abandoned church building?
At WebUrbanist, there’s a fascinating series of photos of abandoned church buildings, in varying states of decay and ranging from the strangely beautiful to the downright depressing. Here’s a sample:
I recently took a road trip through the American midwest and saw several abandoned-looking churches (although none as photogenic as these). I don’t believe that church buildings, simple or ornate, have any special quality of “holiness,” and so seeing these images isn’t a spiritual shock.
But they do raise questions, some of them a bit sad: what happened to the people who once worshipped here? Are they happily worshiping at another church today? What caused them to leave the church—was it theological disagreement, a slow decline in membership, collapse of the local economy? What was it like to worship in these churches for the last time?
Jeff Berryman has some poignant thoughts on these images:
Two hundred years from now, or four hundred—and I know it’s not the same for a thousand reasons—but imagine someone wandering through the ruins of the place where you worship, if you do. What, they will wonder, went on here? What happened? How and why did such beauty get lost?
And of course, people are churches, many abandoned and worn down, the images of these abandoned rooms images of many spirits and souls.
What about you? Do you pass churches like these in your own town? How do these images make you feel?