Fresh Faith. Vintage Church.

I visited a vintage clothes shop with my son, Hank, a couple of weeks ago. He needed some shoes and a matching belt.

 “The Buffalo Exchange” was hopping on Friday night around 8 PM — a diverse array of folks weaving through tightly packed racks and rows of colorful clothes, holding up cool shirts, trying on stylish pants, gauging their fit and look. 

I felt like each patron was searching for that special item which might be calling out their name, speaking to their personality, helping them tell the story of who they are or perhaps wanted to be out in the world. 

When I mentioned this, my deep and keen insight, to Hank, he said, “Could be, Dad, but I just need some brown shoes and a belt.”  

And perhaps that was all he needed, but nevertheless I sensed, as he continued to look around, he too preferred something “one of a kind” rather than something he could get at the mall. 

Most people tend to like things that are in unique, specific to them — things that are well made with some form of old-school craftsmanship rather than things that are mass-produced. 

The word “vintage” is evocative of this preference — it carries into our minds notions of something different, something of higher quality, something sought after, something handcrafted and artisanal, especially something nostalgic from a good era. 

Having this word on my mind the very next week, I was visiting a church member at one of the hospitals in the medical center, when I met a nurse who introduced herself as “Adonia.” She said it was an old name — that she was named after her grandmother. 

I told her I liked the sound of it — “Vintage,” I added. And she replied, “Vintage — I like that.”

The word “vintage” also transmits the idea of a kind of slowing down, a personal touch. It communicates something that remains compelling, authentic, and attractive to the human soul in these days of post-modern velocities, glancing acquaintances, and short attention spans. 

In this our new year, as a staff, we thought we ought to throw more of a spotlight on what we call our church’s “tagline”— Fresh Faith. Vintage Church. It’s not only kind of catchy, but it captures who we are. It reflects our long held identity. It’s part of our congregation’s embedded DNA.  

Looking for ways that we could lean into this effort, we ventured deep into our church’s well-kept and well-preserved archives and located a series of neatly bound volumes of all the church’s Sunday worship guides organized year by year, from long ago, and we were especially drawn to the worship guides from 1953, the year which marked South Main’s 50th Anniversary.  

Both the logo and the fonts used within these documents struck us as remarkable in their design — evocative, now vintage, in their look and in their character. So, here in the new year, we decided to model our Sunday morning worship guides and our Wednesday night prayer lists after the look from that year, from that era.  

Our hope is that in renewing and updating this historic design, the juxtaposition of the fresh faith in our spirits with the vintage look of the documents in our hands will remind us to continue to combine all that’s good about our church’s past with an innovative eye toward the future — one that remains always compelling, authentic, and attractive to the human soul. 

Fresh Faith. Vintage Church.

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