From all points on Renaissance Island, tolling bells can be heard. It is Sunday, and they are a call to worship at St. Minutia’s Church. Vicar Torrelle greets parishioners at the doors of the quaint, medieval church, and Martin Luther’s Protestant anthem, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” is accompanied by the crowing of a nearby farmyard rooster.
Places of worship in Second Life are sometimes historical re-creations and sometimes purposeful sanctuaries. St. Minutia’s Church is both.
Picturesque and devoted to the history of an age, Renaissance Island was established in 2007. This sim is home to the Globe Theatre, features jousting tournaments, and is a favorite networking spot for RL library science students.
According to the estate’s owner, Lady Korrigan Keynes, St. Minutia’s Church was one of the first buildings in the parish. But services at St. Minutia’s are more recent. Vicar Torelle began holding services at the church “in time for Easter” this year. Sunday services are at 1 p.m. SLT each week and are usually between 15 and 30 minutes long. The warm glow from within the church makes it a perfect setting for weddings and baptisms as well.
When asked why a “working church” was established on Renaissance Island, Lady Korrigan explained, “I always say that this sim is on a journey to authenticity, but that journey couldn't begin without an acknowledgement of the importance of religion in shaping the lives, politics, and economies of the day. Religion was a central feature of life.”
Although the church is set in a Renaissance-themed venue, the vicar will tell you that “the services are 'real,' if you know what I mean. It is not roleplay per se. It is an attempt to be true to the Gospel message for those who wish to attend.”
“Everyone is welcome here,” said Vicar Torrelle. “We do aim to be true to the historical parameters of what was happening at the time, though. And, of course, it was a time of much religious upheaval.”
“This church tries to be true to the way the service was in the 1540s,” he said. “There were many new Protestant works coming out then, particularly, the translation of the Bible into English. We base our services on the Book of Common Prayer written by [Thomas] Cranmer in 1549.”
“Which was during the time when Henry VIII wedded Anne Boleyn,” said Lady Amza Hydraconis, co-estate manager of Renaissance Island.
An open Bible on the alter symbolizes a time of transition. “Protestants of this period believed the Bible should be heard in English by the people,” said the vicar. “Before this time, the Bible was not read in English, the services were in Latin. The Protestants were trying to reach the people directly.”
St. Minutia’s Church has no confessional booths. “The Protestants believed that people should have direct access to their God,” said the vicar. “They could pray to God directly without the intervention of a priest.”
“When we say all are welcome to St. Minutia’s, we are an unusual parish in many respects” said Lady Korrigan. “We do not fear the plague and so welcome strangers. We accept people of all sorts.”
“On a personal note,” said Vicar Torrelle. “I think it would be sad to have such a beautiful church and not have services happening. No matter what world we are in, it is good to have a place where you can find peace. This church is such a place.”
For more information about St. Minutia’s Church, Renaissance Island, or to book a wedding, reception, or baptism at St. Minutia’s, contact Amza Hydraconis or PrinceJ3rd Figaro.
Group: Parish of Reading Primley
Preferred Contact: Amza Hydraconis or PrinceJ3rd Figaro