Welcome to Cliffside Chapel.
Come in. Have a seat.
Cliffside Chapel is a fictional creation. The characters that dwell in the Cliffside community are fictional as well though they live in that place that is the reality of all congregations. By welcoming us into their lives, they can share with us the heartaches and humour, the politics and playfulness, the warmth, wisdom, and wearyness that is the reality of all intentional communities.
Cliffside Chapel is set in Canada. The Canadian experiment of mutual respect, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence of diverse cultures seemed a fitting setting for a congregation divided in its values, interpretations, and expectations.
While the buildings and general setting of Cliffside take their inspiration from an existing church community in Kitchener, Ontario, the characters in the Cliffside Chapel series are fictional. They arise from composites of us all. We recognise them because they walk among us, with different names, different faces, and different clusters of qualities and character traits.
To see the buildings in which the story is set, visit the "Carmel New Church" on Chapel Hill Drive, in Kitchener. Experience the marvelous accoustics and attractive chapel. Stick around and you will soon discover Carmel's leaders and worker-bees, peacemakers, planners, gossips and grumps. But do not look for a contemporary service. Carmel's latest pastor prefers the formal, traditional style of worship.
There is a second Swedenborgian church in Kitchener which has a more casual approach and a very welcoming feel. The Church of the Good Shepherd, at the corner of Queen and Margaret, is in a lovely historic stone chapel with a friendly, open congregation.
And do say hello, if you can find me wandering around. (I am much frumpier than my photo might suggest.)
But don't come expecting to find Jon and Sue, Stephen, Liz, or Tanny, unless we are making the movie.