FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
OF WOODBURY HEIGHTS
'For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.'
-- Romans 15:4
Church narthex much more than just a foyer!
By Janet Koehler
The dictionary defines “narthex” as an enclosed area opposite the altar. In our church, It is a space for storing/displaying possessions, missions and photographs. It is where worshipers prepare to enter the sanctuary, and it separates the secular environment from the sacred.
Ours is a welcoming place. Every Sunday morning one of our deacons acts as that day's official greeter, but many, many others in the congregation extend the hand of friendship. Thanks to the inspiration and work of many members, our narthex is attractive, warm and functional. It encourages us to become part of the church family.
Most Sundays, one or more hanging quilts invite us to draw closer, say a prayer and tie a knot for someone who needs spiritual and physical comfort. The quilts are the handiwork of several faithful women who stitch bridges upon which our prayers travel beyond the walls of the sanctuary into the community. There is a basket close by for prayer quilt requests.
The old hymn board by the entrance to the sanctuary is from the original church. andt now holds pictures of new members and church events such as baptisms, weddings and other current symbols of a congregation of believers. Liz Billings is our dedicated curator of the hymn board, another way our church family is strengthened. See her if you have pictures to be displayed.
The cabinets hold items from the church’s past and provide a historical perspective. There, pieces of our past stand as a witness to the zeal of our ancestors and the blessings from yesteryear. Let the history committee know if you would enjoy helping with this mission.
Another glass-enclosed cabinet introduces us to the members of the church staff, the Board of Deacons and Session elders. It is a pictorial directory that honors the service of many and provides vital information to all.
Now, as we enter the sanctuary, our conscious thoughts are centered on good things -- God things. Spiritually attuned, we are now prepared to hear soothing music beckoning us to worship, the Word of God reminding us that we are His children, and Rev. Shedwick’s pastoral presence as he prays, instructs and comforts his sheep.
Church members can tie a knot in a prayer quilt, learn about our church's past, see photos of church staff members and officers and receive a warm welcome once they enter the narthex for Sunday worship. Photos provided by Janet Koehler