We went to see family in New York in June. These photos are not the best but they suit the moments, fleeting, on the way somewhere, and taken from the window of the car.

St K front

When I left home the first and second, and then for the last time, I would find places that inhabited peace. I’ve been to churches in many cities, sometimes just a visit to see the architecture, or with the hope that someone might be playing the pipe organ.
I liked the idea that the doors were open all day, even on weekdays.

St K arch

I have no photo of the chapel we went to when I was in the children’s choir at 8 years old on one of the Naval Bases my dad was stationed at. But I remember some happy memories there, as home was sketchy and lonely at times, and there, I had a pal, one more adventurous than I.

The chapel was shared by many faiths and there was a small room in the back where the Catholics would come and light candles. My mother had recently converted to Protestant, but I had been yanked from Catholicism in the middle of getting ready for first communion, so I was always curious about it.

My friend Eddie put his shirt over the candles screwing around, and caught it on fire. He put it out, but it left a huge hole in his shirt. Never forgot that.

W St F.jpg

Another church of my childhood had many hazards and was the source of nightmares for years until I made peace with my memories. But it was a cool old building with many unused rooms that we would explore. We called them The Catacombs. Re-visiting them as an adult was magical.

These photos were of a church I used to attend, but I took them from the other side, not where the door was. Looking closer, I saw stairs leading up to a bricked up space where a door used to be. There is something metaphorical there. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Click for full size photos.

I have had a love/hate relationship with many churches over my lifetime. But I have been very sure of God and His love for a very long time. I did have some good experiences in these buildings and sometimes I had singular moments where I felt His presence there. But I never felt it as keenly as I do in these sanctuaries below, every single time.

They never let you down. When I share them with someone else watching, even better. Thank you for reading and looking.


This post was shared with Norm’s Thursday Doors


5 thoughts on “Sanctuary

  1. I too have fond memories of the church I grew up in. I was lucky in that there were only 2. The first one I was so young I don’t remember it. Sanctuary’s built by God are the best. The eclipse this week was one of the best.


  2. It’s true, there’s something really welcoming about churches, and I’m not even Christian, but I’ve felt a certain vibe from churches I’ve visited.
    I love the story about your friend setting his shirt on fire.


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