There is a simple beauty to the small town churches of Canada, and the ones on the eastern shores in particular seem to embody this understated appeal. The New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia wooden built churches, usually have single tall spires reaching high into blue skies, marbled with streaky nimbus clouds having a distinct charm beyond those with more impressive architecture.
As a European, my experience of religious houses of worship, especially Christian ones, are grand churches, or vast Romanesque cathedrals. Many beautiful works of art adorn the walls, treasures in precious metals, and huge organs, with pipes like rows of industrial chimneys tower above the pulpit, and long wooden pews. They often have impressive acoustics, which accentuate the powerful notes produced by the musical instrument.
There are usually stunning stained glass windows, depicting important figures of faith, their panes of many shades, diffusing sunlight, and spreading colour throughout the interior. Often even the darkest corner of even the dimmest lit cathedral, has it’s own tiny, multi-hued spotlight. Stone sculpted gargoyles stare out impassively at passers-by, and visitors swarming within the grounds.
The churches of the Atlantic Coastal regions are a stark, and welcome contrast to these overstated testaments to Christian wealth and power. They may be less impressive, but their simplicity is refreshing, pure, and unpretentious in design, adding to their appeal. The interior is usually just as understated, a number of relatively plain religious artefacts, crucifixes, statuettes, and embroidered cloth tapestries.
Some even house artefacts of First Nations culture, dreamcatchers, and headdress, mixed with the paraphernalia of Christian religion. The First Peoples converted to Christianity generations ago, and many congregations probably include parishioners from many cultures.
This particular church is in the small town of Acadieville, New Brunswick. It was impossible to drive past, standing proud against a blue sky with wispy clouds, and later as the light softened with the setting sun, it became bathed in a golden glow. It was impossible to resist, and I believe these images show why.
Every town or village seems to have one or more of these attractive, little churches, and I never tire of them, they are lovely to see, and very photogenic. They seem much more appealing than the grandiose places of worship throughout Europe, or the US, and it’s this more humble face of religion, which seems to hold greater allure.