Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Monday, October 15, 2012

BEHIND THE RED DOORS


        Do you ever wonder why the doors of many Episcopalian churches are painted red?  The answer goes as far back as the Middle Ages. Some say that the color represents the Blood of Christ, marking the front of the church and even some of its side doors as a sanctuary.  It has long been said that no soldier would follow an enemy behind the red door of sanctuary inside the church.  Today, the red doors still symbolize that the church is a place of refuge and safety.

The red door tradition  lives on in Episcopalian, as well as some Catholic and Methodist churches around the world.  And, you don’t have to go very far to find a red door church here.  Just go look at the red doors of Christ Episcopal Church located in Dublin’s historic triangle. In fact the church has four red doors.

Founded in 1899, Christ Episcopal Church is the city’s oldest church building in its original form.    On February 5, 1899,  the church was consecrated by Rt. Rev. C.K. Nelson and Archdeacon, W.M. Walton, the latter serving as the church’s  first priest. In those days, the Dublin church was a mission church under the charge of the priest of St. Luke's Church in Hawkinsville.  The church was built in the shape of a crucifix with a high vaulted ceiling supported by heart pine beams.  The ceiling area is similar to that of the hold of a ship or an ark, symbolizing that the church is the ark of the children of God in times of tumult.  The sanctuary has seen some minor alterations, adapting to the technology of the day, while major additions were made to the rear of the building.  The present stained glass windows were added in 1994.  

The bell on the exterior of the church was given to the church by church member W.W. Walke after he rescued it from the Laurens County Courthouse, which was demolished in 1963.  The bell had been removed from the Dodge County Courthouse after that building burned and was  placed in Dublin’s courthouse in the mid 1930s. 



        The exquisite red front doors were hand crafted by Jim DeFaux from strips of mahogany glued together.  If you take a closer look, you will notice that the doors actually incorporate two crosses.  The whole process took three months to complete.  DeFaux also designed the interior narthex doors to compliment the front doors. 

The Episcopal Church Women will sponsor a “Red Door Sale,” beginning on Saturday morning, October 20,  at 8:00 a.m.  in the church social hall and lasting until three o’clock in the afternoon.  The church is located at the corner of South Church Street and Academy Avenue in Downtown Dublin.   For more information, call (478) 272-3003. 

The sale, an annual event, will feature its usual treasures as well as works of local artisans, Christmas items, jewelry, antiques, and plants for your garden.  There will be  silent auction items and free drawings during the day, for which you will need to be present to win.  

Information will be available on the red doors and the new Columbarium in the church garden.  Take a peek at the renovation of the James Crabb Episcopal Center and get details on the upcoming Christmas tour.

While you are browsing, nibble on some of the most delicious pies, cakes and cookies, you will ever taste.  The members of the church cordially invite you to attend the Holy Eucharist services each Sunday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a social coffee hour.

Some Episcopalians  now say the interpretations of the meaning of the red doors have changed or expanded. They say that the red doors not only symbolize the church as a place of refuge in the house of the Holy Spirit, but that they  shine forth with a warm welcome.  Come by, visit and see for yourselves. 

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