slice of my life

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Ten Commandments Hike

We went on the Ten Commandments Hike in downtown Houston last Saturday. This was a Boy Scout event, but was open to everyone, so we were using it to help earn our Architechture badge.
These are our girls, of course. We got to downtown Houston about 8:00, which I thought was our starting time, but as it turned out, we didn't start the presentation part until 8:50. But it gave us time to get registered and look around the church where we started. This fountain was in the courtyard.
Here's the front of the First Christian Church, built in 1958. It was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, who we'd talked about in our GS meeting the week before. Here we heard about eht first commandment---You shall have no other gods before Me. Also we heard about the Disciples of Christ, which is really close to the kind of church we go to, springing out of the same movement.

Here is B and A. I told them to turn around while we were hiking to the next church (.8 miles). A is holding her water bottle that each hiker got. We refilled them at water fountains all along our route.
We hiked along one side of Rice University. A's mom told the girls they should think about Rice as a college option---it's a good school. It was beautiful this morning. The temps were great and it was a shady walk.
The second church is Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. it is a copy of a church in Venice.
I took a lot of pictures here!

Here we heard about the 2nd commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol.

The front area is raised just like the one in Venice----with the water so close, they do not put basements in, so they raised up the altar area for storage.
The next hike was to Hermann park, where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gave the talk about the third commandment. They do not have a church in this area, but they wanted in on the talks. The 3rd commandment is Do not take the Lord's name in vain.
We are starting to get a little tired already. But it's not hot---not yet! It was a little warmer than February usually is in Houston, with the expected high about 70.
We got to see some interesting architecture and even some sculpture.
We arrived at the First Presbyterian Church. By this point we had hiked 1.9 miles.

We really enjoyed this lavendar church! :-) It was built in 1948. I have a sort of geneological tie to Presbyterians---I have a Scottish heritage.
This is the St. Matthew Lutheran Church. It was across the street. They had beautiful carvings up front, and beautiful stained glass, which came out blurry on my camera. And this one's crooked! I was trying to take pictures between heads and with a zoom.
We had police escort all along our routes to get our large group across the streets safely and in one group. Yes, we were stopping traffic all over Houston.The next stop was just next door, too. This church was patterned after the neo-Gothic style, built in 1930.
I had gotten notebooks for each girl, and they really were busy in each church, taking notes and drawing what they saw.
The ceiling is wood, and is supposed to look like an upside-down boat. The early Christians often had to hide to worship, and sometimes it was under and overturned boat.
The 6th commandment was here----Thou shall not kill. This window has a rendering of Charles Wesley---The brother who wrote many hymns.
This is the outside---the building is roughly in the shape of a cross.
Here is B and fellow Girl Scout , M. After this we hiked another .8 miles to the next church and our lunch stop. We're now up to 2.9 miles. This stretch was very sunny and kind of warm. Not quite as pleasant, but not bad. I didn't get any pictures of lunch, but we sat on the floor and ate the brown-bag lunches we packed.
After lunch we went to the sanctuary od the South Main Baptist Church. This building was about 104 years old. It was very fancy---fancier than any other Baptist church I'd ever been to with friends.
This was the 7th commandment: Do not commit adultery. I think this was the one that everyone tries ot not get to talk with to the scouts. But the guy who was there (not a preacher!) did a good job talking about loyalty and trust and honesty.
After that was another .9 mile hike, and we saw a really cool church---U.of St.Thomas Chapel of St. Basil. Very modern, built in 1993. Some of our girls are in this shot.
The whole place is illuminated by natural light. It has a big dome on top, but split with windows, so it lets light in that way. I love this bright cross. Here the guy talked about the 8th commandment: Do not steal.
Hiking again---.8 miles again. We crossed over the expressway (Hwy 59?), and B took this artsy shot.
I didn't get a picture of the 9th church---the Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. I think I was getting a little weary by then. It was Hot, and we were getitng tired. I was having to get a couple of girls to catch up all the time. We were really slowing down. This church offered us bottles of water, a nice gesture. We heard about the Christian Scientists and the 9th commandment---You shall not bear false witness.
We couldn't really stop to take pictures---wehad to keep moving and try to stay on schedule. I also didn't want the Boy Scouts to think we were slow poke girls.
After our last .8 mile leg, we finally arrived at our last stop, the Congregation Emanu El, a Jewish synagogue. This is also a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired building, built in 1949.
Here is a real Torah scroll, being unfurled for us to see. No touching the ink----it's specially formulated and can be damaged by human hands.
After the talk about the Jewish faith and the 10th commandment, I asked more about the church itself and the scout leaders there were very nice and helpful. They were built in 1949, and up until 5 years ago, they had the largest hangin movable doors in the world. The back of their sanctuary (I think that was his word?) can be opened up because of those doors to double their seating capacity. This lady, Lisa, is not only a Boy Scout leader, but leads a Girl Scout group, too. She was talking to the girls about the Torah scrolls displayed up there.
Here's the front of the building. In the FLWright style, it was a building tying in with nature, meant to look like mountains rising up out of the earth, and with arms outstretched to welcome all. This building was noted as the best 50-year old building in Houston.
Well that was our adventure. I really thought it was a great trip. The girls---despite being weary and tired at the end---they all seemed to have a good time and learn things. Our girls were very well behaved, so that made the trip more pleasant for the grown-ups, too. I learned a lot about thedifferent denominations represented. I'd recommend it to anyone. :-)

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