Saturday, January 5, 2008

Five Spire Rating

I'd like to recommend the five spire system to rate churches. Not the churches themselves, mind you, but to rate how well we imbibe them. Feedback is welcome.

1 spire ("the Toulouse"). A simple drive-by shooting, like this. Sometimes you have to settle for the Toulouse, as it's better for the church to get the drive-by than the photographer. We actually saw a police chase on that trip.

2 spires ("the Chartres"). Multi-angle exterior photography on foot, as with this abandoned church just before the Holland Tunnel.

3 spires ("the Cologne"). Exterior and interior photography, as with Trinity Church in Princeton - be sure to see Lance's as well, for this was the inaugural joint mission of the North American Churches group.

3.5 spires ("the Truro"). Exterior and interior photography including balcony or other normally closed spots, and/or busting out the tripod (mono-pod won't get you the half-spire). By talking to a kind janitor, I got upstairs in St. George's Orthodox Church, Toronto with tripod at full extension - "the Truro" was mine. If you know of a more apt example of a 3.5 spire church than Truro, do tell.

4 spires ("the Gaudí "). An actual tour, however informal, given by an informed parishioner, janitor, pastor, etc. We scored a ringing Gaudí at Peddie Memorial in Newark by meeting the pastor who described his very challenging ministry and showed us around.

5 spires ("the San Marco"). In keeping with rule #2, worship in the space in addition to all of the above. I scored a San Marco at the O.G. this summer, and you can read all about it.

Now when someone says, "I scored a chincy one spire drive-by when I wanted a San Marco, but the church was closed; I'm a real Toulouse-er," you'll know what they mean. But let's hope it never comes to that.

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