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COLUMN: Looking up for inspiration

— I’m really enjoying the steeple in town. I honestly don’t remember what it looked like before, but since the United Methodist Church in the village repainted and replaced it, it truly looks awesome.

Maybe once the new look becomes familiar, it won’t catch my attention like it does now. But every time I drive through the center of town, it draws my interest again. It’s like seeing a cardinal flit past in the snow. Only with the steeple, it draws my eye up from the muddy road and the darting cars and gives me something better to think about.

Steeples have been prominent in my past. My dad was a pastor, and I grew up in a parsonage next to a church with a large steeple. The whole church was white. I didn’t see the actual steeple much because when I would walk past, it was so tall I couldn’t see it without craning my neck. It was on a small rise on a side street in downtown Fulton, and when driving past, the view of the road predominated.

When I was a teen, I rode my bike around and through the city after school most days. I discovered an Episcopal church a few blocks from my house with a wonderful rose garden and a carillon that chimed every three hours. One day I got brave enough to explore the side door of the church, which looked like a medieval alcove I’d read about in Cadfael mysteries. As I opened the door, the scent of wax candles and smoke from burning votive candles met me. I saw a row of little pews on either side with kneelers underneath. Racks of votives at the front framed a gigantic opened Bible and a journal in which you could write a prayer or two.

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