homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Special interest discussion   » Ecclesiantics   » Chalking the door

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.    
Source: (consider it) Thread: Chalking the door
Lucia

Looking for light
# 15201

 - Posted      Profile for Lucia     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
At our church this morning at the beginning of the service we had a short liturgy accompanied by chalking the door of the church.

I have never come across this practice before but looking it up online it seems that it is more commonly done at family homes.

Has anyone come across this being done at church?

Can anyone tell me more about the origins of this practice, where and when it started, how widespread it is?

Posts: 1075 | From: Nigh golden stone and spires | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged
Margaret

Shipmate
# 283

 - Posted      Profile for Margaret   Email Margaret   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Seconding Lucia - our new Bishop suggested at the end of our Epiphany eucharist that this was something we all might like to do, as he's done on his house, and distributed blessed chalk to those who wanted to. I'd only been vaguely aware of the practice, and I too thought it was for homes rather than churches.
Posts: 2456 | From: West Midlands UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Laud-able

Ship's Ancient
# 9896

 - Posted      Profile for Laud-able   Email Laud-able   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
We have chalked the church door for some years at our place: the blessed chalk - together with a leaflet of the prayers - is avaible for members of the congregation to take away and chalk their doors at home.

--------------------
'. . . "Non Angli, sed Angeli" "not Angels, but Anglicans"', Sellar, W C, and Yeatman, R J, 1066 and All That, London, 1930, p. 6.

Posts: 279 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
Shipmate
# 14322

 - Posted      Profile for Enoch   Email Enoch   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'd never heard of this custom before it was mentioned on the Ship a year or two ago. So I don't think it's traditionally an English custom. I've never seen it done. Perhaps it's a bit like Christmas trees which we're always told came from Germany with Prince Albert and caught on. If so, I'm not sure this one will. It looks a bit obscure. Which country does it actually come from?

Lucia, which country are you in? Margaret, you're in the West Midlands. Is it usual there, the way that churching is alleged to survive in the Potteries when it seems to have more or less died out everywhere else? Or have you encountered it as an innovation.

As a matter of curiosity, where it is traditional, do the chalk marks go actually on the door, or on the lintel above it?

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7610 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Amanda B. Reckondwythe

Dressed for Church
# 5521

 - Posted      Profile for Amanda B. Reckondwythe     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I've never heard of it either, but there's a rather nice explanation here for those, erm, in the same boat as me.

--------------------
"I take prayer too seriously to use it as an excuse for avoiding work and responsibility." -- The Revd Martin Luther King Jr.

Posts: 10542 | From: The Great Southwest | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Ceremoniar
Shipmate
# 13596

 - Posted      Profile for Ceremoniar   Email Ceremoniar   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
This is an old Catholic custom, dating from the Middle Ages. We've done it at my house for years. I have seen some churches do it, as well.
http://www.onepeterfive.com/the-chalking-of-the-doors-an-epiphany-tradition-explained/

http://www.churchyear.net/epiphany.html

Surprisingly, here is a Methodist explanation:
https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/an-epiphany-blessing-of-homes-and-chalking-the-door

Posts: 1240 | From: U.S. | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged
ThunderBunk

Stone cold idiot
# 15579

 - Posted      Profile for ThunderBunk   Email ThunderBunk   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I was told it came from Austria. As I had long assumed that the rector in question had simply made it up on the spot (nothing like a trad Anglo-Catholic for making tradition up to suit his own narrative), I have no idea how true that is, and cannot at this moment find any corroboration.

--------------------
Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

Posts: 2208 | From: Norwich | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

 - Posted      Profile for Jengie jon   Author's homepage   Email Jengie jon   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Well, the sheet I got last night said "southern Germany" so close to Austria again.

Jengie

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
Shipmate
# 16378

 - Posted      Profile for Gramps49   Email Gramps49   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
We have done it for the past five years at our church. We actually have a chili luncheon after church and then at the conclusion of the luncheon we chalk the door.

We have had the chili luncheon for over ten years, but five years ago we tied it to Epiphany because the "wise men brought spices from the East." Think of it--what would our food taste like, if it weren't for wise people bringing spices back from the East?

Posts: 2193 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Baptist Trainfan
Shipmate
# 15128

 - Posted      Profile for Baptist Trainfan   Email Baptist Trainfan   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Margaret:
Our new Bishop ... distributed blessed chalk to those who wanted.

Blessed chalk? [Confused] That really does not sit well with my Christian understanding.

[ 09. January 2017, 12:38: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

Posts: 9750 | From: The other side of the Severn | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

 - Posted      Profile for Jengie jon   Author's homepage   Email Jengie jon   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Chalk over which a blessing has been pronounced.

You can decide how much credence you give to the effectiveness of the blessing. I see it as no more than a dedication of an object to a specific purpose. A nice way to connect what happens at home with what happens at church but nothing more.

Jengie

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bishops Finger
Shipmate
# 5430

 - Posted      Profile for Bishops Finger   Email Bishops Finger   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
What Jengie jon said. This sort of blessing is known technically, IIRC, as an 'invocative' blessing, which does not render the object blessed as perpetually sacred.

I thought this blessing of chalk business was a Roman Catholic thingy, mostly. Do the Orthodoxen do it as well?

BF wanders off, muttering 'can't do any harm, might do some good'

IJ

--------------------
Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

Posts: 10151 | From: Behind The Wheel Again! | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
venbede
Shipmate
# 16669

 - Posted      Profile for venbede   Email venbede   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I've seen it in German speaking Italy - Sud Tyrol.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
Forthview
Shipmate
# 12376

 - Posted      Profile for Forthview   Email Forthview   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It is indeed a very common custom in Austria. Epiphany is a public holiday in Austria.There are people who go around singing called Starsingers - it's a bit like groups of carol singers in the UK. Amongst the group there are the Three Kings,as they are traditionally known in Germanic language countries and a person carrying a star.
On the walls of the houses and farms which they pass they will chalk 20 K + M + B 17.

Kaspar,Melchior and Balthasar are the names which are traditionally given to the Three Kings.

As others have said KMB or CMB can be interpreted as Christus mansionem benedicat (May Christ bless this house)

Posts: 3444 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
venbede
Shipmate
# 16669

 - Posted      Profile for venbede   Email venbede   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Another Epiphany custom is to announce the date of Easter.

--------------------
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Thro' the world we safely go.

Posts: 3201 | From: An historic market town nestling in the folds of Surrey's rolling North Downs, | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
leo
Shipmate
# 1458

 - Posted      Profile for leo   Author's homepage   Email leo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary bless chalk and announce the date of Easter at the National Epiphany festival each year.

--------------------
My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

Posts: 23198 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Margaret

Shipmate
# 283

 - Posted      Profile for Margaret   Email Margaret   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
Margaret, you're in the West Midlands. Is it usual there, the way that churching is alleged to survive in the Potteries when it seems to have more or less died out everywhere else? Or have you encountered it as an innovation.

As a matter of curiosity, where it is traditional, do the chalk marks go actually on the door, or on the lintel above it?

I don't think it's a Midlands custom at all - our new bishop has arrived from Woolwich, and I think he's originally from Northampton, so he must have picked up the custom somewhere en route. The only time I've ever seen it before is on a house in (surprise!) Walsingham. I've always vaguely associated it with German-speaking countries, but perhaps that's because there are supposed to be relics of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral.

I think above the front door is the traditional position, or if that's not possible beside the door, or as near as possible.

Posts: 2456 | From: West Midlands UK | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lucia

Looking for light
# 15201

 - Posted      Profile for Lucia     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Thank you for all your replies. Most interesting!

The church where I encountered this is in Oxfordshire in the UK. Apparently they have been doing it there for some years but the priest leading the service was a local minister who has only recently started helping out at the church. I shall have to ask the vicar when I see him. He is an anglo-catholic so it fits with it being a tradition of Roman Catholic origin.
We're having some interesting new experiences in this church. Midnight mass at Christmas was the works with incense - something else I have never experienced!

Posts: 1075 | From: Nigh golden stone and spires | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged
Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

 - Posted      Profile for Curiosity killed ...   Email Curiosity killed ...   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Sending chalk home at Epiphany has been happening here for years, 10 or more. I am not sure if it was dropped this year or not as the minister who introduced it has retired. But he is another anglo-catholic.

--------------------
Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

Posts: 13794 | From: outiside the outer ring road | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
dj_ordinaire
Host
# 4643

 - Posted      Profile for dj_ordinaire   Author's homepage   Email dj_ordinaire   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Seconding that this is a Roman Catholic custom from S. Germany, Austria and similar areas.

It is sometimes seen in Britain as the OP'er and others note. There is one house near my gran's in Morden which I pass when popping to the shops for sherry and other essentials which does it every year, and I've seen it on at least one Anglo-Catholic vicarage door as well.

--------------------
Flinging wide the gates...

Posts: 10335 | From: Hanging in the balance of the reality of man | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
fletcher christian

Mutinous Seadog
# 13919

 - Posted      Profile for fletcher christian   Email fletcher christian   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Been done at my local shack for the last decade or so. I've seen it done in quite a few other places too, often accompanied by journeying Magi who travel around the homes of parishioners (I think this aspect comes from Papua where they journey in a tiny boat).

I was told that it was a custom throughout central Europe in the Middle ages and possibly came from the Orthodox practice of blessing homes in Epiphany. Certainly the local Orthodox clergy seem very busy during Epiphany near me in running from house to house, but while there seems to be lots of myron oil (I presume that's what it is) and enough water to fill a few swimming pools, I have yet to see them using chalk.

--------------------
'God is love insaturable, love impossible to describe'
Staretz Silouan

Posts: 5235 | From: a prefecture | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Forthview
Shipmate
# 12376

 - Posted      Profile for Forthview   Email Forthview   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm sure quite a few people here know of Silent Night in German. The discussion of the Epiphany Starsingers (Sternsinger) reminds me of a verse which is sung at that time in Austria,although I do not think that the words date back to Joseph Mohr.

Stiile Nacht,heilige Nacht
Seht den Stern in grosser Pracht
Er fuehrte die Weisen ins heilige Land
Wo ein jeder zu sich fand
Christus den Heiland der Welt.

A rough and ready though not literally accurate translation into English might be :

Silent Night,holy Night
See the star burning bright.
It led the Wise Men to holy ground
Where to their joy each one found
Christ the Saviour of all.

Posts: 3444 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
Lionel Pugh-Critchley
Apprentice
# 18700

 - Posted      Profile for Lionel Pugh-Critchley   Email Lionel Pugh-Critchley   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
This custom does seem to be catching on. A friend told me this church in Rugby does it.

I found online guides to doing it here and here.

I have to say I've noticed very few chalked doors myself. Anyone spotted any?

Posts: 5 | From: St Oggs | Registered: Dec 2016  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

 - Posted      Profile for Jengie jon   Author's homepage   Email Jengie jon   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Would you notice, given that it might be against a light colour surface and the chalk marks need not be clear?

Jengie

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
leo
Shipmate
# 1458

 - Posted      Profile for leo   Author's homepage   Email leo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary bless chalk and announce the date of Easter at the National Epiphany festival each year.

Here's this year's chalk blessing.

--------------------
My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

Posts: 23198 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ceremoniar
Shipmate
# 13596

 - Posted      Profile for Ceremoniar   Email Ceremoniar   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Would you notice, given that it might be against a light colour surface and the chalk marks need not be clear?

Jengie

Our priests have several different shades of chalk, so the markings stand out on any color wall.

[ 13. January 2017, 17:20: Message edited by: Ceremoniar ]

Posts: 1240 | From: U.S. | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged
The Scrumpmeister
Ship’s Taverner
# 5638

 - Posted      Profile for The Scrumpmeister   Author's homepage   Email The Scrumpmeister   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Margaret:
Our new Bishop ... distributed blessed chalk to those who wanted.

Blessed chalk? [Confused] That really does not sit well with my Christian understanding.
How so?

--------------------
If Christ is not fully human, humankind is not fully saved. - St John of Saint-Denis

Posts: 14741 | From: Greater Manchester, UK | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

 - Posted      Profile for Jengie jon   Author's homepage   Email Jengie jon   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Ceremoniar:
Our priests have several different shades of chalk, so the markings stand out on any color wall. [/QB]

Or be hidden against any colour wall. The assumption that you are making is that marking is done so as to be seen.

Jengie

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
Shipmate
# 10745

 - Posted      Profile for Ecclesiastical Flip-flop   Email Ecclesiastical Flip-flop   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
The Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary bless chalk and announce the date of Easter at the National Epiphany festival each year.

Here's this year's chalk blessing.
Yes indeed! I went along last Saturday, this year to the Church of SS Anne & Columba, Hoxton, north London. The GSS Epiphany festival is the only time I experience the blessing of chalk and the proclamation of the date of Easter and all the other dates for the new year. I took my piece of chalk away with me.

--------------------
Joyeuses Pâques! Frohe Ostern! Buona Pasqua! ¡Felices Pascuas! Happy Easter!

Posts: 1946 | From: Surrey UK | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Mudfrog
Shipmate
# 8116

 - Posted      Profile for Mudfrog   Email Mudfrog   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I've done it a few times in The Salvation Army

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

Posts: 8237 | From: North Yorkshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
dj_ordinaire
Host
# 4643

 - Posted      Profile for dj_ordinaire   Author's homepage   Email dj_ordinaire   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I've done it a few times in The Salvation Army

Really Mudfrog? I find that really interesting as I wouldn't have thought that central European customs would necessarily have had much input into SA practice. Is this a recent thing?

--------------------
Flinging wide the gates...

Posts: 10335 | From: Hanging in the balance of the reality of man | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Notapassingphase
Apprentice
# 18422

 - Posted      Profile for Notapassingphase   Email Notapassingphase   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
We did it this year for the first time, not Anglo-catholic, so I think it's spreading? I posted about it on FB and was told that it's very common in Poland.
Posts: 16 | Registered: Jun 2015  |  IP: Logged


 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
follow ship of fools on twitter
buy your ship of fools postcards
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
 
  ship of fools