Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sunday in Santa Paula

My church in Santa Clarita got kicked out of our usual worship space on Sunday. The Senior Center where we rent space is doing some remodeling which required knocking down the east wall of the room we use for worship. So we decided to join one of our neighboring churches for worship and Santa Paula, about 40 miles to the west was able to accomodate us. My sermon is here.

The Santa Paula conregation was very gracious. And their building was a treat for us. Dedicated in 1892 as a Universalist church the building is in a Gothic Romanesque style and boasts impressive stained glass windows.

I spoke to one of the church members about the layout of the church. The worship room is square with the entrance in one corner and the pulpit at the other corner with the center aisle running diagonally across the space. I told the church member I had seen that layout once before in a Methodist church in Mogadore, Ohio where my parents were born, and he told me that he had heard that the architecture was based on something called the "Akron Plan." So that made sense, Mogadore being an Akron suburb.

But I did a little research and it turns out the Akron Plan has nothing to do with the diagonal aisle. Instead, The Akron plan refers to a style of church architecture, first used by the Methodist Episcopal Church in Akron Ohio, where a large central room opens by means of sliding doors on to several smaller classrooms. This allows the Sunday School superintendent to monitor all the classes from a central location and to gather all the students together in the large room for school functions. The Santa Paula church has the one large worship room and two smaller spaces to the sides, one room now used as part of the worship space, the other separated behind a large sliding door they use for their coffee hour.


John Nichols Gallery said...

That center aisle was not there in 1892. It was added much later. As I recall it was added in the 1960s or so to allow brides to walk down the aisle.

Another question would be, "Why is it Mind, Body and Heart?" What is heart a metaphor for? What happened to Spirit?

Rev. Ricky Hoyt said...

Thanks for the info about the diagonal aisle.

The phrase you refer to, from my sermon where I quote Ken Patton, uses Heart as a metaphor for emotions. Patton's point is that spirituality is expressed through all three: intellect, emotion, and physicality. I agree.