Friday, February 5, 2010

Filling the Void

North American Churches has been silent lately, a fact which has lead to a spate of attempts to fill the void. First Things has resurrected the venerable New York Times tradition of sermon reviews. Check out St. Ignatius Loyala, Old Saint Patrick's, Calvary Baptist and Marble Collegiate. But because the authors realize that the aesthetics of the building cannot be ignored, these are more than just sermon reviews. Either a church worships with you or counteracts your worship. As our inaugural quote dictates, buildings are not neutral.

Then, Professor Kourelis, that exemplary steward of our irreplaceable ecclesial heritage, seeing the lack of posting here, went ahead and planned an entire course on Lancaster churches, and launched a new blog!

As if that wasn't enough, my friend Kerry, currently touring the country with a choir, started sending me photographs of the amazing churches he's encountered, such as Cram's Covenant Presbyterian in Charlotte. Here's the plan, here's the reality.

There's too much unappreciated beauty out there. I have not posted lately not due to a paucity of encounters, but due to my not knowing how to digest the many that I've had. First there was a streetside church in Newark (people seemed rather puzzled that I photographed it), then a Long Island mansion that has become a convent (I didn't even get the name), or Cram's Byzantine Christ Church, St. Bartholomeuw's, which the unprecedented dome and rose that I could only get by laying the camera on the pew for a 30 second exposure, not to mention the Tranfiguration apse and side chapel. And don't get me started on my trip to Judson Memorial this Sunday, where I was able to go in and see the LaFarge windows, in a McKim Mead and White setting, with Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture at the front for good measure. A triple threat. Perhaps I'll post some of my favorites from these encounters in the weeks to come.

And yet, it's serendipitous that we've been dormant, seeing all who've joined in the task. Highlighting the endangered churches in the American architectural ecosystem is too important of a project to do alone. We shall persist!


Nauplion said...

Do look at St. Michael's Episcopal on Amsterdam Avenue. A Tiffany mosaic in the side chapel to die for. Not to mention the over-the-top Tiffany interior decorating & huge stained glass windows in the apse, recently restored. I'd love to see good photos of these.

millinerd said...

Will do - thanks!