The Long Hall Home

The Long Hall Home June 9, 2006

We came home this weekend. Well, technically we didn’t really move that far (right next door), and by “we” I mean the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church.

For the past three plus years the church has been occupying our built-during-the-Civil-War sanctuary for everything from quarterly business meetings to Christmas sing-alongs. The administrative, educational and programming space of the church has been undergoing total renovation and actually being completely rebuilt in part. The new space includes a beautiful recording studio, a gym, a commercial kitchen, a music suite, a couple of beautiful performance spaces and some fabulous new offices for church staff.

In fact, the whole place is so big and so new and so beautiful that it can be a little intimidating when you walk in.

One of the most intimidating things is the long, long hallways that stretch almost the whole length of the third building. You could bowl down those hallways!

It occurred to me last week that stepping off the elevator and walking down a long sterile hallway like this one might be a little bit scary for someone visiting the church and wondering what goes on in this place and if there might possibly be some place they might feel at home . . . those intimidating hallways made me wonder.

But thanks to photographer Mike Kalyan, the long hall that leads to the sanctuary is now illustrated with a gallery of pictures depicting the various faces and expressions of this congregation. They went up last weekend, and, I have to tell you, having them there changes the whole feeling of the space.

It used to be, even for those of us who knew where we were going, that getting down that hallway quickly to get wherever you needed to go was the compelling objective.

That’s all changed, though. Now it takes some time to make it all the way down the hall. You’d want to linger, you see, to check out all the different faces of this congregation—wildly diverse yet engaging in the life of a community of faith all together.

You’d be curious about the choir singing. You’d want to look rather closely at some of the architecturally interesting shots of the sanctuary. You’ll stay and linger over the image of a young family on the day of their baby’s dedication and you’ll want to jump right into the picture of the whole congregation passing the peace of Christ.

I think that’s what you’d want to do, because it’s what I want to do when I walk down the hall. And I sure am glad about that because, for this place to be home, to be a real family of faith, it certainly is going to have to be more than beautiful new Sunday School rooms and gleaming long hallways.

To be who God has called us to be we’re going to have to have a hallway in which we hang pictures that you would glance at, stop to look more closely at the detail, linger then for a few minutes immersing yourself in the images and then imagining yourself right there in the middle of the fray . . . moving down the hallway to a place you might be able to call home.

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