Church Hanborough, Oxfordshire

I came to this church forty years ago.
A young American, I was lusty
for churchy antiquity. The musty
hymn books, worn pews and tiny Norman window
combined with the raised pulpit and rood screen
to cast a kind of spell over my young
mind. I fell for it; and was it so wrong
to be enchanted by this ancient scene?
I know it was a vain, nostalgic dream
to live in a world where beauty and truth
were still as alive and vital as youth,
but sitting here forty years on, I am
still drawn by the clarity of the place.
The reach of the roof beams, the high ceiling
and the light-filled windows confirm the feeling
that every stone and every pane of glass
is charged with grace, and that my time spent here
was not a waste, but an investment
in something solid, sure and transcendent
something like the windows—high and clear.

Father Dwight Longenecker is the pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, Greenville, SC. Raised an evangelical, He graduated with a degree in Speech and English from Bob Jones University. He studied theology at Oxford University and was ordained into the Church of England. Seeing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, he and his family entered the Catholic Church in 1995. He then began writing seriously and trained in story structure and writing screenplays. In 2006, he returned to the USA to be ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Protestant ministers.

Father Longenecker is a popular speaker and blogger, a prolific tweeter with over 17,000 followers, and the author of a diverse array of books, including two novels (The Gargoyle Code and Slubgrip Instructs),  the novella The Vicar of Great Snoring, and The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. His latest book, The Mystery of the Magi-The Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men, is published by Regnery Press.  In addition to publishing in many outlets, he is currently writing plays and poetry. His latest project is pioneering a first-person, podcast novel titled Renegade.

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