Archive for the ‘Churches’ Tag

Second Life Churches — Kirkkosaari Ortodoksi kirkko

Kirkkosaari Ortodoksi kirkko, Kirkkosaari_001_001

A new year is upon us again — a new year according to the Liturgical Calendar, that is, which starts four weeks before Christmas, with the beginning of Advent.  As usual, at this time of year, I like to visit a few churches around Second Life, and show more of the religious aspect of the Grid.

Today’s is a return to a previous region, but a different church in that same sim.  Kirkkosaari is a place of churches, run by a Finnish group.  I visited the Ristikiven kirkko a few years ago at this time, and here is its sister church on the same island, the Kirkkosaari Ortodoksi kirkko, or Kirkkosaari Orthodox Church.  The onion-bulb domes topped by Byzantine crosses would be a dead giveaway to the orientation of this particular church, which does not appear to have a regular congregation.  However, it is open for prayer and meditation, and the interior is lovely.

Kirkkosaari Ortodoksi kirkko, Kirkkosaari_001_002

The iconostasis, or wall of icons, is also typical of Eastern Orthodox churches, and this one is quite nice, with depictions of many saints and other notable works of religious art.  Behind the gate in the center is the main altar; the room there also appears to be a sacristy of some kind.  There is no seating in the nave, or main body of the church, but you will find non-animated benches to either side in the transept, the “cross arm” of the building.

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Second Life Churches — St. Luke’s Episcopal Parish

St Luke's Episcopal Parish, Nestor 15,166,104_001

St. Luke’s Episcopal is a parish that looks to be thriving in the midst of a mainland continent.  The animated sign outside the building (which smacks of Spanish mission architecture to me, similar to the Alamo) shows regular services.  The parish has a long, relatively narrow piece of land here, and they’ve screened out some of their neighbors with solid walls and a bit of landscaping — though there’s little around them aside from a high-rise (out of frame) that blares for commercial attention.

St Luke's Episcopal Parish, Nestor 15,166,104_003

The sanctuary itself is also quite pretty — as you can see here, it’s hung in Sarum blue for Advent.  There are icons of Saint Luke on the pillars, and the feel is that of a European-style church that has been in use for many years, since perhaps the 1600s or so.

  • This is my third year of an Advent tradition of looking at churches around Second Life, following my annual hosting of the Holy Family statues for the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life’s Posada progress.  For other articles, you can search the blog.

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Second Life Churches — Saint Magnus Kirk

The region of Hinterland Orkney takes its looks and atmosphere from the RL Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland.  You cannot call it a desolate place, depending on what part you’re in; but it is rocky and hilly, and the North Sea climate is not given to large stands of trees together.  It’s a perfect place for something like Saint Magnus Kirk.  Built out of the local rock, the church is dedicated to the martyred Lord Magnus of Orkney, and was built in memory of the friend of the landowner.  It’s surrounded by a churchyard given to graves and memorials.

Interior, with flags of the Orkney Islands, Scotland and Great Britain.

This is not a church with a regular congregation; rather, it’s a place of prayer, of meditation and memorial.  The two slabs to the sides of the altar are memorial “plaques,” and the owner is willing to add reasonable monuments for others, up to 4 prims total.

Note here the wall carving with a candle burning beneath it; I would say, based on the inscription above it — “Saint Magnus, pray for us” — that this is a memorial to the saint himself.

Second Life Churches — Ristikiven kirkko in Kirkkosaari

During this time of the year, I like to take a look at one or two churches beyond my own virtual parish of the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life.  This year I’m returning to Finland, in a sense, for one.

The Ristikiven kirkko, or Stone Cross Church, is a Finnish Lutheran church, located on an island with several Finnish churches.  This one is definitely modeled after a RL location, described (in Finnish) on this Web page.  The sanctuary, as you can see, is open to the sky, and is nestled up against a hillside.  The “pews” are simply logs laid out for worshipers to sit upon.

This beautiful little church played host to the Holy Family on Posada a few days after I hosted them myself.

The church’s main feature, which gives it its name, is the altar stone.  If you look carefully in the cleft to the right of the drape and lantern, you will see a naturally occurring cross in the rock.  I’m not sure if the RL church was built around this boulder, or if it was moved to a flatter site and then the church built.  (There is some description of how the rock was found on their page, but Google Translate leaves something to be desired.)

Second Life Churches — St. George’s Church, Augia

Another visit to an in-world church here, part of this year’s Christmas travels to Second Life places of worship.

Saint George’s Church is a Catholic church institution, administered by the German Archdiocese of Freiburg, as you can see from the flag in front of the door.  They hold periodic prayer services — the schedule is available on a tablet near the door in the entry arch — but not much more than this, at least from the appearances.  I will admit that I have got no German, though, and attempting to get great gobs of sense from Google Translate or Babelfish results is never a happy experience (grin).

Irregardless of this, it’s a pretty little church, very medieval in decoration on the interior walls if my art classes are still remembered.  A single long central aisle leads to the altar and the crucifix in the back, hung on the apse.  The ring of green that you see to the right of the altar is the Advent wreath, the decoration given here to the church for the Christmastime.  One can sit back and listen to a homily in the pews, or kneel to pray as the spirit moves you.

Up the right aisle, you’ll find a lovely baroque statue of Saint George slaying the dragon.  Most English speakers think of George purely as the patron saint of England; but he was also the patron of all knight in general, and is celebrated throughout Europe.  There is also a nice Pietà statue in the left aisle.

Outside again, behind the church, you’ll find a very nice fellowship circle of benches — note the Advent wreath again, this time hanging in midair (grin) — and a stone path leading up to a small chapel.

There’s at least one more building connected with the archdiocese in the town across the street from the church; it carries clickable pictures leading to pages at their Web site.  Note that they are mostly in German; so, if you’re interested, you may want to have a translator page open, despite my dissing them up above.

Second Life Churches — 1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life

Regular readers will know that I am an attendee at the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life, in Epiphany region.  But there are other churches scattered throughout the Grid.  I published photos on Flickr last Christmas time of the Finnish-style Riihikirkko in Bongo region, and of the non-denominational Church of the Dawn Treader in Born.  As we travel through the last week of Advent in preparation for Christmas, I think I’d like to look at another few churches you may find interesting.

As the Riihikirkko did last year, the 1st Presbyterian Church in Second Life hosted the statues of the Holy Family for the Anglican Cathedral’s Las Posadas celebrations this year.  Xenia region is partially covered with snow at this time (including the church sign at the right of the picture!), and so I crunched through the drifts to take a look around the area.  There is a fairly large complex here, including the two main buildings in the picture:  the church sanctuary proper on the left, and a Tudor-style chapel on the right.  There is also a meditation garden, a fellowship hall skybox, and the church office (also in a skybox).

The key part, of course, is the sanctuary.  There’s room here for about 20 people to sit, and more for standing room, of course.  Lots of greenery festoons the walls at this season of the year; and you can see the Holy Family to the left in a bow window.  Like many churches that owe their history to a European origin, the lectern or pulpit is set off from center, in a corner of the room.  I didn’t try the piano here; but, when teleporting about the complex, I did land for some reason in the baptismal font in the left foreground, and got a bit of an unnecessary bath!

A conference center is also part of the complex; large and airy, with four halls, several of which are set up for multimedia presentations.  My favorite would be the room on the upper left, which is centered with comfortable couches for fellowship and discussion; the lower floor is lined with kiosks, and would make a good exhibition hall, while the right-hand building is more formal in tone.

Peace Garden at the Anglican Cathedral

A small patch of rough ground lies just outside the Anglican Cathedral in Second Life, in Epiphany region.  It has a few benches for sitting, a swing or two hanging from the trees down toward the cliff face, and a few sheep to help do the mowing (in lieu of a parish work team [grin]).

This little park was there before, but it was dedicated as a formal garden and a part of the church foundation and close this past Sunday (July 18), along with other additions to the fabric of the region and buildings.  Though not exactly planned that way, the sign you see in foreground was my own contribution to this plot of land.  I took the texture from a scan of a doorpost plaque that you can purchase at Episcopal bookstore here in the United States, and created a small piece that I put up on the door of my current house, then offered it as well to the Cathedral.  The Committee stretched it into a large size and made it sort of a welcome sign for the new Peace Garden.  I was greatly flattered when Helene Milena of the ministry team let me know what they were doing.

In a future article (after I return from a vacation with my family), I’ll photograph and explore the other additions to our beautiful Cathedral.  For now, you can follow the link above to get a transcript of the entire service of commisioning that was held.  For this garden, the service was this:

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THE PEACE PLAQUE

Readings

Isaiah 26:3-4

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—
in peace because they trust in you.
Trust in the LORD for ever,
for in the LORD GOD
you have an everlasting rock.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Reflection

Peace. Something that is often hard to come across in the often noisy worlds we live in. Even if our surroundings are quiet, our minds are often still chattering as we think of the next dozen jobs we need to do. Peace does not come when the sounds of the world are silenced, though being in beautiful peaceful surroundings can help. Peace comes by trusting in God. It has a different quality from worldly peace. Knowing God is there as our ‘everlasting rock’ allows us to experience peace regardless of circumstances.

THE PARISH GARDEN

Readings

Genesis 2:8-9

And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

Reflection

Who hasn’t had their breath taken away by the beauty of the world! So many wonderful things are available for us to enjoy: things on a grand scale like mountains and lakes; things on a small scale like tiny butterflies and delicate feathers. All come from the hand of the Creator for our enjoyment. We just need to stop for a little while to appreciate the wonder that is everywhere we look, even in the most unpromising places. If we find ourselves unable to pray all we need to do is look and thanksgiving should flow from us as we observe God’s handiwork.

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