When I was growing up, we would walk up to the corner bus stop and catch the bus to go downtown. There we would transfer to the Cramer Ave bus and ride it to the stop closest to Preston Ave. From here we could walk down the street to a repurposed army barracks and go to church. After the army barracks I think we had church in the VFW Hall and after that an older home turned dancing school. Finally, with utmost time efficiency, we used the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sunday after they had met on Saturday. Following much fund raising and sweat equity, we went to church in "our" new church which was a one room rectangle with some folding accordion doors to make classrooms for Sunday School. A year or so before I graduated from high school, a chapel was added to the rectangle. We finally had a real church.
For the past 47 years, We have attended church is lovely structures, tastefully decorated and attractively landscaped. They contain chapels, kitchens, classrooms, gym/cultural halls and a library. When we arrived in Chicago, we were assigned to attend the Lake Shore 1st ward. The address went into our GPS and off we went. We drove and drove until we reached the tall buildings of downtown Chicago. The neighborhood is charming with a variety of row houses and apartment buildings sitting just on the fringe of the downtown. We pulled up to the address and discovered that we would be attending church each Sunday in a school. Not only was it a school, but a school of the same era as my elementary school. I was right at home based on my history and location in time. The smell of the waxed wood floors, the writings on the blackboard, the student crafts hanging from the ceilings---all lovely.
Sticks and stones make a building. Heart and spirit make a church. I really don't feel any different at church in our school than I did in my recent chapels or my long ago barracks. Chris, our son in law shared an impression while visiting in Germany. "The biggest landmark there is a giant cathedral that is 800 years old. I felt like the cathedral was a sacred space. When I see how much work and effort was made by so many people over hundreds of years, I can't help appreciating their faith and sacrifice". I love the faith and sacrifice evidenced by the many churches, old and new dotted around Chicago. I love the feelings of love and the warmth of the spirit that come to me in church. I'm grateful for the sticks and stones and the heart and spirit combined by faith to make our churches. I love my Sunday school.