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Old New England charm

Visiting Rossmoor is like spending time in an old New England Village with winding streets, a village green, and a white steepled Meeting House. The Rossmoor Meeting House steeple is one of the special landmarks of the community, especially beautiful when contrasted against a blue sky or a red sunset. The building's design closely follows New England tradition, the steeple at the front of the Meeting House and the entrance door just below on the narrow wall of the building. (Outside of New England, meeting house design often put the steeple on the rear wall of the structure, or the entry door in the center of the building's long wall.)

Although the term "Meeting House" is synonymous with "a house of worship," it traditionally served Puritan New England as a place for public meetings as well. In Rossmoor this tradition continues. All three Faith Communities at Rossmoor use it for worship, and it is a place for special musical events and larger public meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

     

An Historical Note: The Meeting House was the largest building in most colonial New England towns, and provided the most practical space for public meetings. But they had other uses as well. Meeting Houses were often built as a fort — constructed of thick logs and carefully positioned firing holes. Because Meeting Houses tended to be built on the crest of a hill, they had a tactical advantage in the event of attack. Related to their use for protection, a very practical early Massachusetts ordinance required all houses to be built within a 1/2 mile radius of their Meeting House.

As to steeples: The earliest New England meeting houses had towers and spires attached to an exterior wall — much the way chimneys stick out from the side of houses today. Such attached towers began to disappear in the 19th century. These exterior towers and spires were absorbed into the main structure of newer buildings in the way we know them today.

     
 


 
     
 

Walking toward the front door of the Meeting House, a curved path winds through a compact village green past attractive street lights of slanted glass panels.


An Historical Note: Although the use of street lighting antedated Benjamin Franklin's time, it was he who designed the top of slanted glass panes, such as these in Rossmoor. Glass globes popular in Europe at the time attracted soot, were hard to clean, and had to be completely replaced if broken. Franklin's idea allowed tops to be repaired more easily as only the individual pane was required to fix a broken lamp.

 
 
  Vestibule
Entering the front door of the Meeting House there is a small gathering room for coats, literature and service announcements.
 
 
 

Entrance Hall
Just inside is a large room for socializing before and after Services, for coffee, tea and other sundries.

 

A view of the main hall of the Meeting House from the entrance hall.

 

 

 

Two large colonial pattern chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and brass wall sconces mirror the design.

     

The Main Hall of the Meeting House
The Seating Capacity is 300, and the moveable chairs create interesting patterns when viewed from different angles and in changing lighting conditions.

 

 

Four large ceiling-to-floor windows in each long wall make the outside trees and foliage decorations of the hall.

 
 
     

The Carillon

The Meeting House has an electronic Carillon played for Services by a member of a group of volunteers from the Rossmoor Community Church.

The Carillon also has an automatic mode from which Westminster Chimes are heard throughout the community on the quarter hour during the daytime.

To the right is a commemorative plate from an earlier Rossmoor picturing the Meeting House.

     

Parlor
To the left of the entrance hall is a parlor used for small group meetings, or conferences. An electronic organ stands beside the doorway.

A handicap access ramp enters the Meeting House through the hall connecting the parlor to the entrance hall.

Offices of the Meeting House are located on the second floor.

Library of Religious Subjects:
Along the walls are 5 bookcases, 4 of which house the Page S. Killian Memorial Library; and another, whose approximately 100 books have been collected by the Jewish Congregation.

 
 

Outside Beds of Flowers
Flowers surround the Meeting House in season. In Spring twilight, these tulips line up ready to show off the next morning. And the pansies! This one, whose comrades line the walk, smiles hopefully as if to engage the passerby in conversation!

"Hey! How's things!"

     
                      Autumn in Rossmoor is special.

 

 

 

 

In this view of the Meeting House across the Village Green there is a a frame of red, yellow and orange maple leaves circling the lawn.

The leaves to the right were — one Fall day in 2004 — lying beneath the red maple. An Autumn walk to the Meeting House can reprise a walk past a series of museum paintings.

 

 

 

 
 
 
Winter in Rossmoor
 
 
"That in the winter, seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed, and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the providence and power of God."                                                                 M.Beaufort, 1666
 
 
 
 
The Meeting House Steeple
  The white steeple is in striking contrast when there is a blue sky and clouds overhead . . . .   . . . . but when sunset arrives, it can become a blush red as if freshly painted, and . . . .
 

 

 

 

 

  . . . . then in the light of evening floodlights, the tower
returns to a noonday white.
"The Lord is in His Heaven — let all the earth stand in awe before Him."
 
 
 
 

Always visible to the Rossmoor Community, the Meeting House Steeple is our major landmark and of the surrounding community as well. Its changing colors and contrasts are a unique part of Rossmoor's skyline.

Pointing heavenward it is also an enduring witness to a power beyond our own. And should life become just too difficult, it reminds us of the prayer which goes:

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth."

Psalm 121

 
 
 
 
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