Ring-around-the-chancel

Call me silly but I have a fascination with mixed-use (or interfaith) religious architecture with a particular period (post-WWII it seems) feature: turntable altars.

This interest was fostered by its odd, gee-wizz, and even its kitch character, but the original inquiry came out of some thought around the appropriate interworking of worship in governmental settings, like military, aviation, or educational settings. Most of the turntable altars are and were found in military chapels. If you have one chapel, out of necessity it must serve the whole religious program. Here comes technology to the rescue.

Imagine a triangular tower that pivots on its vertical axis where each of the three sides are set for Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish worship. Pivot, and voila the building changes function. Simple chancel furnishings complete the scene.

No great thoughts here — just a couple of pictures. Of course, the best pictures are “in-between” shots. (Coming from US government sites, I’m assuming they’re public domain.)

National Institutes of Health chapel Naval hospital chapel, St. Albans, New York

And a remote link:

in the United States Merchant Marine Academy chapel

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Ring-around-the-chancel”

  1. There is a “dharma and Greg” episode where Dharma goes into a chapel and finds a lecturn style altar with a spinner inside it that flipped from one religious sympbol to another. I had no idea they came in such a huge variety!

    Somehow, the heathen in me pictures one section of that spinner to have a Price is Right style set up with “A New Car!!!”

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