Church and Neighborhood

We’ve been here for the past two months so that the International Church pastor, and his wife, could take some vacation.

As we mentioned back in our winter blog, our church host is a very old Lutheran building and congregation – 1555!IMG_2546IMG_2545

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Our congregation rents worship space from the Lutherans

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and also a small top floor studio apartment – which, with the skylights, has been surprisingly cool and breezy, even in the hot weather we’ve had.

During Soviet times – before independence in 1991 – the Lutheran sanctuary was turned into a two-story building with storage on the ground floor and a basketball court above.

IMG_2532This is an old photo showing the pillars that had supported the basketball court, in the midst of the renovation of the church. Note that all the sculptures around the altar are missing –

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and here they have been restored.

Especially in the summer our congregation has been pretty small, with many people gone home or on vacation.

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But there are almost always a few visitors who worship with us and join us for coffee hour – this last Sunday people joined us from Poland, Germany, a campus pastor from U. Mass.Lowell, and some young men from The Netherlands who were on a camping trip. You never know who will show up.

We’ve had fun investigating the neighborhood around the church.

The church is in the center of a jumble of buildings –

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In the right photo, top floor left, is our apartment, with a cracked wall looming over it.

Behind us –

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from time to time some men are working on the top floor of a neighboring building. It will be quite striking when it’s finished, possibly matching the other side of the building,

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here viewed from the street behind our church jumble.

And here is the view of our glass “lobby” from behind our apartment building.

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It’s amazing to wander through the alleys and courtyards immediately around us –

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this is what’s directly behind our kitchen and bathroom, on the other side of the wall.

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And this is a view from another direction, with a restaurant sharing space with the church and with our “independent senior living” building.

I guess that even if we took you on a walking tour with us, it would still be confusing, because it still is confusing to us!

But we’re grateful that the neighborhood has not been subjected to modern leveling and starting over. That would be a shame.   The way it is, you can at least get an idea of the “medieval” atmosphere of the old city – few straight alleys or uncracked walls, low archways leading into surprising courtyards, piles of rubbish and then an unexpected garden.

Liz loves leading us on what we call our “alley walks.” She enjoys the surprises, and so do I. And that’s why it’s hard to imagine we won’t be off on another adventure someday, maybe sooner rather than later.

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