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Two churches in Aurora, NE

July 15, 2014

NEauroraME NEauroraPres

These two churches in Aurora, Nebraska illustrate a phenomenon I’ve encountered often. It’s easy to understand how one Methodist church resembles another twenty miles away: A building committee from #2 visited the completed building of #1 and were dutifully impressed—about aesthetics, about function, about economy—so they hired the same architect, who gave them a sibling.

Now and then, however, there are multiple churches in the same town, for different denominations (but almost always Protestant and Evangelical), that are similar despite their different corporate identities. Such is the case here in Aurora, Nebraska (which I’ve yet to visit, by the way) for Methodists and Presbyterians. Why do I imagine that the plans and interior volumes of these two churches are practically interchangeable. It’s as though the exterior treatments—handsome as they may be—are virtual slip covers. The photographers have helped make my point by putting them in practically identical perspectives. Yes, one has a rotunda/cupola on a hipped roof, while the other is flat and presumably not skylit. But these differences are superficial. Dates of construction and architect’s names will help, I’m sure. [I’ll be surprised if there are different architects.]

It’s a good thing I won’t be going to church drunk. It would be embarrassing to walk into the wrong one.

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