Wednesday, July 22, 2009

St. Mark Lutheran, East Toledo

Lutheranism's crown jewel of Toledo's East Side!
The congregation was founded in 1884 by German members of St. Paul's, living on the East Side, who were tired of dealing with the Cherry Street Bridge washing out (the German Catholics who founded Sacred Heart did so for the same reason). St. Mark's first church, a long-gone wood frame building, stood where the current building stands and was moved back to the next block to make room for the new one since the congregation was growing rapidly. The cornerstone was laid in 1916, and the new church was dedicated August 26, 1917.The cruciform church is Tudor-Gothic in design, and seats 900. The architects were Speer and Gehrke of Detroit, and church member Fred Rinker was the contractor.
The steeple rises 112 feet above Woodville Road.
Since then, a large parsonage (now used for offices) was added in 1926, and an educational wing was added in 1951. This historical information is taken from "Treasures of East Toledo" by Pastor Larry Michaels, who divides his time quite nimbly between Martin Luther, where he is senior pastor; and St. Mark, the church he grew up in, where he is resource pastor. Thanks, Pr. Larry!My initial reaction upon entering the sanctuary for the first time, was to just stand there gaping at what I was seeing! I have heard other people describe having the same reaction. The sanctuary is immense and magnificent. The numerous stained-glass windows glow like gems. That altar and statue are among the best I've seen!
That wraparound balcony made it easy to get up to the large stained-glass windows in the transepts.
The left transept. The large window is Jesus with the children, and the smaller windows underneath the balcony, tell the Christmas story.... and the right transept. The large window is Jesus at Mary and Martha's, and the smaller windows tell the Easter story.
That altar is just about perfect ...

Simply wonderful!
Closeup of Jesus with the children.
Closeup of Jesus at Mary and Martha's.
Mary and Martha's dog!
The Gethsemane window is at the back of the church, at the top edge of the balcony.
Something not often seen: the woman who anointed Jesus' feet with the expensive ointment, wiping them with her hair. This is one of the smaller windows that line the lower edges of the sanctuary, under the balcony going toward the rear of the church.

Pilate's very worried-looking wife watches the proceedings from the gallery ...
"Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."
--> The font and processional cross.

Among the windows in the narthex are the wedding at Cana, the baptism of Jesus, and Jesus healing the sick.
... and under the balcony, Martin makes his case.
"Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht Anders tun. Gott hilfe mir. Amen."

My Photobucket pictures may be viewed in their entirety here:


  1. Who took the pics? Very nice!

    Roger Dodger

  2. I took those, and I wish I had more time to do anything with this blog. When I first started it, I was laid off and had all the time in the world. Now, thankfully, I'm working almost full-time again; but my time to do this has dwindled to pretty much nothing. Thank you for the compliment; I'm glad you enjoyed them!

  3. ShariYS, thanks for posting these pictures of St. Mark's. That was my church growing up through high school (graduated in 1983). Was baptized and confirmed there. It was a beautiful church to worship in, with Christmas Eve services being especially memorable.

    1. You're Jim's son, aren't you? I'm also in the West Toledo Exchange Club. Jim has done so much for XC over the years! I need to start doing something again with this blog, even if it's just a photo of the day. St. Mark is really such an exquisite church! Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. Sorry for the late reply, Shari, I just now saw your post. Yes indeed, I am Jim's son. Ironically, I'll be spending some time with him for a few days starting tomorrow, as my step-mother will be out of town and he'll need a little help. The National Exchange Club was a big part of my father's life, and I know how proud he is to have been a part of it and helping people. On the subject of St. Mark's I'm curious about it's history prior to becoming part of the ELCA in (I believe) 1988 when the ELCA was formed. My mother, who's 75, can't recall clearly, but she believes it was part of the LCMS at one time, before converting to another Lutheran denomination prior to becoming part of the ELCA. I could be wrong but I believe the only denomination that changed from LCMS and later changed to ELCA was the Association of American Lutheran Churches. As I youth I don't recall our specific denomination being discussed, but maybe it was and I remember. The reason I'm curious is I'm going through the process of deciding which denomination is right for me, and I think it's important to be able to tell the pastor of a church I may join what denomination I was baptized and confirmed in. You may not know the answer to this Shari, and I've been planning on sending an email to St. Mark's to ask, so one one or another I should be able to find out. Thanks for the reply. I'll mention you to my father when I see him tomorrow evening.