Presbytery of the Peaks Presbyterian Church, USA College Church
Thursday, December 12, 2019
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   The College (Presbyterian) Church at Hampden-Sydney
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College Church with ramp

Dr. Dabney believed that a church building should display what one believed, and he therefore avoided any symbolic elements whatsoever, as this stern, somewhat Puritan-like, figure abhorred all high church elements as being ambiguous at best and idolatrous at worst. His stern Calvinism was based on the clear light of reason, and he therefore used plain, clear window panes, in the fashion of the New England meeting hourses. He especially disliked stained-glass windows, believeing that they obscured God in mystery, whereas the Deity should be explained rationally and orally. He specifically detailed that there should be no "popish cross" on public display in this room, and since he was decidedly opposed to pipe organs he thought that he had designed the room in such a way that no such instrument could ever be installed. However, when a pipe organ was installed in 1920, in the generation following his death, its parts were painstakingly taken up the slave gallery steps, piece-by-piece, and assembled in the balcony. Dr. Dabney never used the word "sanctuary, which he associated with Episcopalians, and he consistently referred to this main room as an "auditorium," a word which underscored his concept of worship as a listening experience. He designed the over-built pulpit as a virtual throne for the preacher, and the plain, hard wall immediately behing the pulpit has meant that the acoustices in the building are unusually bright.


"I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the had and kept you;
I have given you as a convenant to the people,
a light to the nations."
Isaiah 42:6

College Church, College Road, Box 13, Hampden-Sydney Virginia 23943
Phone: (434) 223-6269 or (434) 223-8625 * FAX: (434) 223-7055