the most beautiful and perfectly finished floating church in the world
March 3, 2016 9:05 AM   Subscribe

The Floating Church of the Redeemer 1848-1853.

"It was the sight of the floating gothic church making her way up and down the Delaware River, with banners flying from her 75′ foot steeple, that inspired New Jersey’s Bishop George Washington Doane to write the missionary hymn Fling Out The Banner. The church could seat as many as 600 worshippers for a Sunday service. This number rarely must have been reached, as the families of mariners and longshoreman frequently left early due to seasickness." [via] posted by jessamyn (6 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
My eyes have a hard time believing the pictures. I'd have bet they were a Terry Gilliam paste-up, not something that really existed.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:13 AM on March 3, 2016

I'm kind of surprised this isn't an Eastern Orthodox cathedral. There are so many weird and creative ones in Russia, at least one of them has got to float.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:25 AM on March 3, 2016

Reminds me of Oscar and Lucinda.
posted by scamper at 9:25 AM on March 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

As awesome as the idea of a full-sized floating church is, I have to say that it's too bad that it burned down on land--I believe you could have sold tickets to watch it have a Viking funeral.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:34 AM on March 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I knew nothing about this; it's fascinating stuff. That second link ("More information on this church," from Godey's Magazine) has some florid but effective writing:
The deep moan of the winds comes on the sailor's ear like the voice of eternity, and the mountain waves rolling like tumbling hills all around him, heaving and sinking and bursting asunder, one would think would warn him of his danger. But, alas, familiarity with such scenes blunts his sensibility and destroys any impression they may make, for the moment, on his mind. But, besides living a continual life of peril and adventure, the sailor is a homeless being. He knows little of the genial influences of the domestic hearth. In fact he has no home, unless it be on the waves. He is a stranger everywhere but on shipboard, and there he lives in a strange brotherhood, unchosen and unloved. He is a stranger on shore, a stranger in the circles of social intercourse, a stranger everywhere he goes.
posted by languagehat at 3:09 PM on March 3, 2016

Such an odd and beautiful thing to think about. It puts me in mind at once of Robert Smithsons' 'Floating Park' and 'The Immigrant Song' by Led Zeppelin; a floating poetic idea and conquering crusaders on the wing. I really wish there were recordings of the hymn being sung.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 7:24 PM on March 3, 2016

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