No Corners…It’s Ovular
Almost a year ago, I spoke of a vision of moving from our altar to a table as the central focal point of our worship space. I shared the architectural evolution of the sanctuary across the years. The point I was seeking to make then was that however “fixed” we think a worship space is, or should be, there is always an ever evolving character to a gathering space that is in direct response to how we’ve come to understand the nature of the One we’re worshipping.
One of the gifts of St. John’s is the immense creative vision of our members. In thinking of a new communion table, together with the thought of doing something as an enduring witness to the ministry of Rev’d Frank L. McRae, the Holy Spirit moved through Collins Dillard. What Collins captured was a piece that gives life to who we are as a people. We are people who gather around the Table of our Lord. And the Table of our Lord is one in which all are welcome.
Whereas our altar is rectangular, with sharp edges, this new creation is “ovular,” it is made to be gathered around.
The design of the table calls upon two prominent themes. The first of which is harkens back to the quote by Rev’d Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The second is specific to Frank and St. John’s. “The Queen is Dead,” defined a paradigm shift in the consciousness of St. John’s. We are beneficiaries now of that prophetic word then. And the table is effectively an upside down crown. The queen may be dead, but this church is alive, thanks be to God.
From design, we moved to a call for artisans who would seek to craft it. We heard from several, each of whom does wonderful work. The selection committee, comprised of Renee and me, our lay leader, chair of Church Council, as well as Collins, the one who conceived the concept, chose Shoreline Custom Woodworks, from Memphis. We are very excited about their quality of work, and upon meeting them our enthusiasm grew as they gained an understanding of the concept. They saw quickly the importance of this table to St. John’s story.
Together with custom paraments, which will be fashioned to fit the new table, and a small contingency, the total cost of this project is $10,000. We are now in the fund raising phase, and all are welcome to participate as they feel led.
Our plan is to consecrate this table on World Communion Sunday, October 4, 2015. Indeed, what an exciting day that will be.
So come, let us gather round this table of grace, giving thanks for the giants in faith upon whose shoulders we stand for this season of St. John’s life. Let us find meaning in this symbol so that we may go out to bring others around the table with us.