Monday, June 22, 2009

St. Matthew's Lutheran, Cridersville

A lovely country church nestled into the fields a bit north of Cridersville. The congregation dates back to 1836, with this being their fourth building. The church is ringed on three sides by a historic cemetery that is still very much active (the oldest sections are to the right of the church, the newest to the left and front.) My great-grandparents are buried here, as well as numerous other relatives on my dad's side. Candy, the church secretary, and Pastor Couser, who I had contacted by email, were most gracious and helpful during my visit.
This is a drawing of the little brick church that served the congregation from 1876 to 1967, when the current building was erected. This drawing is from their 100th-anniversary Centennial Book. The next four photos are from the church's history pages, which also list all the former pastors:
What a peaceful, bucolic setting, nestled in among all those trees ...
I didn't go through the entire building, so I'm wondering if they still have that altar and that painting over it, around there somewhere ...
This shelterhouse was built on the site of the old church, which was demolished in 1967 as the current church was being built. The shelterhouse is used for summer worship, in addition to the usual picnics and outdoor events. It's easy to sit inside the shelterhouse and get a sense of how the old church must have been.
The shelterhouse holds a memorial to the old church, which contains the cornerstone.
The church sanctuary is cozy and inviting. In 2001, it underwent a renovation during which the acoustic tile on the ceiling (?!) was removed and these lovely wood beams put into place as the roof was rebuilt. Many other needed updates were made at that time as well, and the details can be seen here:

The altar, formerly against the back wall, was moved forward:
These sixteen stained-glass windows add their own unique glow. Each bears the same graphic pattern, but each has a different chrismon in the center. The chrismons look old, but they're not. I thought maybe they had been taken from the old church, but they're part of the original design. These windows are lovely and very well-done.
The window at the back of the nave, organ pipes in silhouette.

I'm glad they kept this cemetery gate and maintained it over the decades. Even though it serves only a decorative purpose now, it does a beautiful job of setting the historic mood of the old part of the cemetery in an ever-so-slightly surreal and spooky manner.

This little garden is bedecked with the red Pentecost flowers, and Bible verses on the plaques.

Thank you again to Candy Stevely and Pr. Couser for helping to make my day special, both for photography and geneaology. To my great-grandparents, Albert & Emma Sellers, and the rest of my extended family -- rest well, until I see you again.


  1. Very interesting stained glass windows. I have not seen that type before.

  2. I've seen alot of varied abstract sort of placements in modern stained glass ... but this one is new to me as well, and quite unique.