Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
This piece emerged from an article I wrote for The Poughkeepsie Journal, a Gannett daily newspaper in the Mid-Hudson region of New York State. As a summer reporter for the local section I wrote weekly “Dateline” stories that highlighted local and historical places in the area. I chose to write about my own church, St. Nicholas on the Hudson, because of its history and community spirit in the small river town of New Hamburg. Membership and resources were dropping and I hoped that my article would promote interest in the chapel. While researching and interviewing for that news story I learned the struggle of a small band of worshippers, mostly older women, who kept the church afloat, even when active membership dwindled to 15 and there was very little money to hire a priest.This fifteen-chapter account follows the parishioners of St. Nicholas through their ups and downs at the chapel. Through my personal experiences and research my story chronicles a church, the last gathering place for neighbors in a tight-knit community that is fading away. The piece explores my personal spiritual journey on the way to finding peace in my own relationships and the questions I asked along the way. I’ve come to recognize, through St. Nicholas, the difference between finding a place of worship and finding a place that connects you with God.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Vanscoy, Leigh Ann, "Guarding the Chapel: The Story of A Small Community, Kept Faith, and an Ever-Changing River" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 90.