Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cruising the Brookfields…

I am part of the team from our church (The Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church) that is working to find a new settled minister.  We had a wonderful minister for eleven years, Rev. Sara Ascher, but about a year and a half ago, she announced that she was leaving for another ministry.  We were just grateful to have had her as long as we did as she served us very well, but most of us realized that it was the right time for a change.  So for a while now, our search team has been doing the work of finding a new minister. 

As it happens in our denomination (and in others, I imagine), we present ourselves and our church in a packet of information that goes out to interested candidates.  One of the things we want to show is the nature of the area that this new minister is going to serve.  We live in a rural part of Massachusetts and the church is located in the town of Brookfield, a town with one gas station, a couple of liquor stores, a terrific natural food store, one of the last REAL video stores in the Commonwealth and little else besides people.  I am sure that Brookfield natives and residents would be glad to point out more of the town’s assets and charms because it is a very charming town.  It is the birthplace of Elsie the Cow.  If you are of an age, you might just remember her.

In any case, as I said, part of the packet will be showing the candidates what the area is like.  So with that in mind, I went out yesterday to take some photos of the Brookfields.  There are four, by the way:  Brookfield, East Brookfield, North Brookfield and West Brookfield.

My first stop was in East Brookfield.  East Brookfield, incorporated in 1920, happens to be the youngest town in the Commonwealth.   It has a population of a little over 2,000 people and is the birthplace of Connie Mack.  You might have heard of him if you are a baseball fan.  On Main Street in the middle of town is Lake Lashaway and that’s what I decided to picture.  But on Sunday nights, Dunny’s Tavern on Main Street has a fantastic live Blues Jam and some of the best live music in the area.  I know.  I’ve been there a few times and have enjoyed the music and a Guinness or two.

Next I went off to North Brookfield.  This town was settled in the 1600s but officially broke off from Brookfield and was incorporated as a town in 1812.  I took a few photos of North Brookfield's venerable Town Hall all spiffed up for the bi-centennial.  North Brookfield is a little over twice as populous as East Brookfield.  George M. Cohan used to summer there with his grandparents. 

Then I headed to West Brookfield.  This town, which split from Brookfield in 1848, is said to be the birthplace of asparagus in the New World.  Hey, I don’t know about you but that’s a pretty nice legacy in my book.  There is an Asparagus Festival there every year that I have yet to manage to get to as we are usually either busy or out of town when it happens.  But one of these years I will make it and will take my camera.  On the beautiful, large West Brookfield Common stands the Rice Fountain.  I have stopped to photograph this fountain a few times.  Right now, it looks as though it is being restored or at least that they may be planning to restore it and someone has decided that the main figure at the top of the fountain needs to be wearing a few more clothes.  I am also including a photo of the bottom figures that I took a few years ago when the fountain was operational.   Right now, the figure on the left is wearing a string of pearls.  Go figure.

Lastly, I stopped in Brookfield.  Here’s a photo of our church, The Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church, aka “The Little Stone Church that Rocks.”  This particular building was built in 1912 so we are celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the building but not of the church, which actually has roots all the way back to 1675.  The previous church building, which was a standard white clapboard church typical of New England churches, burnt down when struck by lightning in 1911.  My thought is that the members decided that was never going to happen again and they built this church made of Monson Granite.  Stone churches may not easily burn but they do wear out and that is why the building is looking a little raggedy at the moment.  It needs some work and unlike churches made of wood, the repairs are extensive and very expensive…oh, well.  Though our mortar may be a bit on the crumbly side, we still rock.

And that is what I did yesterday.


TexWisGirl said...

beautiful church! and beautiful area. if i were a minister, your photos would definitely perk my ears/eyes up!

Brian King said...

Beautiful area! I love the lake photo and that last church with the blue doors is awesome! Love the stone work and architecture.

MEcoy said...

those statues were majestic i love it

MEcoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty Manousos said...

grand photos of a grand place!
i loved all of them.

i wish i were there. looks like a must-see.
thanks so much for a beautiful post:0

big hugs!

scrapperjen said...

WOW! What a lovely area!

Sandra said...

i am trying to imagine how much it would cost to build a church like this now, or a building like the one with the flag, or even the fountain with statues. the past is so full of character, and i love character. the church is beautiful

Deanna said...

What beautiful images, love that old stone church with the blue doors. Thanks so much for taking us along too. I had an aunt named Elsie, always thought of the cow when I thought of her.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful environment you live in. Thank you for this journey very much. And yes, would love to have a Guinness too.

Please have a good Thursday.

Love for Food and Photography said...

Barbara, your church is soo beautiful!! I like very much the landscape and pictures of North Brookfield you show us!!

Rohrerbot said...

Beautiful statues....love the blue hues you have going on in those photos. Thanks for sharing.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

It seems that the Brookfield towns may all be very close together geographically as you managed to get to all within the day and give us some picturesque scenes. Hope the search goes well, Barbara.

Mary said...

REally! I love asparagus. Love it. One question I was asked recently on a blog...what one food would you choose to eat if that was the only one you could have. I chose peach..but today I choose asparagus. Amazing little chursh of stone!

Nicki said...

Absolutely love the doors on the church.

Juliana said...

beautiful sculptures!
cool publication....
very interesting place

xoxo, Juliana

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