Hello. Let’s talk about St. Barnabas. Maybe you have been thinking about stopping by but you have hesitated because, well, you don’t really know what to expect. Here’s your chance to learn in the comfort of your own home.
St. Barnabas Anglican Church is at 2340 N 155th St, Shoreline, WA 98133. We are right across the street from the parking lot for Twin Ponds Park.
St. Barnabas is part of a regional group called the Anglican Church in North America. The name comes from the fact that the churches called Anglican go back, historically, to the Christian church in England.
Let’s talk about architecture. If you have seen pictures of Greek or Roman temples, you may have noticed that, behind all the impressive columns, the inside of the temple is actually pretty small. That’s because in Greek and Roman religion the chief religious activities were conducted by priests. The people brought offerings, waited outside, and maybe paraded around. The early Christian church was different. The members all met together, at first in private houses. When it became legal to meet publicly, Christians built churches modeled after a kind of Roman building called a basilica. A basilica was a large building used for public and legal business. Later other forms of church buildings were developed, including the famous cathedrals of Europe. It might seem obvious to you that a church building should be big enough for people to gather inside, but this was actually an innovation of the Christian church.
One thing you will notice as you approach the church building is that there is a big cross on the wall facing the street. You may take this for granted – a cross on a Christian church — but remember that the cross was a Roman execution device. Jesus was nailed to a cross and left there until he was dead. Death by execution was considered very shameful by the Jews and the Romans, as it is by us. Imagine making a noose or an electric chair the symbol of your religious group. Amazingly, the early Christians found the cross to be a glorious symbol. Some churches are even cross-shaped in ground plan, which emphasizes the importance of the cross as a Christian symbol.
We will have to have a serious talk about why the cross is such a big deal. But for now I am going to stick to my mission, which is to introduce you to St. Barnabas. We will continue with that mission next time.