Monday, August 3, 2009

former St. Luke's Lutheran, Toledo - Northgate Community Church

I wonder how long it's been since a Lutheran has entered this church.
I have almost no historical information to go on here; only an old newspaper clipping at the downtown library reporting the dedication of the Sunday school wing in 1959. It appears that the St. Luke's congregation disbanded about 1980. The county real estate transfer card says that the building passed into the hands of the synod at the time, and from there was sold to the regional district of the Nazarene church. Over the next 20 years or so, I'm told the building fell into a state of disrepair. I don't know the time periods during which it actually housed an active congregation, but when Northgate Community Church finally bought the building about 6 years ago, I'm told it was a wreck. It was being used for drugs, prostitution, possibly dogfighting, and who knows what else. The Northgate congregation thankfully cleaned it up and made it into a home again.
As you enter the narthex, these two glowing windows greet you:
And as you enter the sanctuary, the first thing your eyes fall onto is this breathtaking sight ...
And at the other end of the sanctuary ...
The church is actually quite small. It is rectangular, but the chancel runs along the side of the rectangle, while these gorgeous windows cap the ends.
The altar area is very small, with a pulldown video screen that hymn lyrics are projected onto. This little altar stands underneath a larger hanging cross that, unfortunately, can't be seen because of the screen.
I stuck the camera behind the edge of the screen and fired the flash just to see what I'd get.
There are two hexagonal bays on the Bush St. end of the church. Aside from embellishing the most visible end of the building, I pondered what those were originally meant to enclose.
Here's how they look on the inside. Perhaps one of these bays may have been a baptistry and the other a sacristy. Now, the one at the rear contains the sound and light boards; and the one at the front houses a set of drums!
This window is over a side door next to the Gethsemane window.
There are only two of the original pews left, both in the Sunday school wing that is now used for a meeting room. This long pew is slightly curved; the pews were laid out in a semicircular arrangement facing the altar. The other pew is a short deacon's pew. The engraving on the pew ends is lovely. I'm told the pews were in too poor a condition to save, that people would sit on them and get dumped onto the floor. These two were the only ones kept.

These two niches once held stained glass windows like the ones in the narthex. They must have been broken out. The openings are boarded on the other side, in the wall of the outer staircase that was probably wide open for a long time. Now these niches hold Bibles and hymnals, and the staircase is behind glass doors.

It's always sad to hear about a congregation that had to disband, but this building lives on as a home for a small but warm and vibrant Christian Missionary Alliance congregation. If anyone knows anything whatsoever about the history of the former St. Luke's Lutheran congregation in Toledo, please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting pictures of this beautiful old church! My Kaiser relatives were some of the charter families back in 1905 and a couple years ago I set about trying to find out where the old church records for St. Luke's ended up. My search took me down to Columbus, Ohio to the archives at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Call first to make an appointment - the staff was just great! I was able to look through the old records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, funerals and church membership, as well as find my relatives in pictures of the old confirmation classes. I was able to take photos of some of the records I was interested in.
    According to those archives, J. S. Herold was the first minister, enter date was Aug. 27, 1905, installation date was Dec. 3, 1905 and he served as the pastor until Oct. 23, 1907. I have my grandmother's confirmation class picture dated May 19, 1907 that included Rev. Herold with 9 confirmands, 5 boys and 4 girls, The class included my grandmother, Dorothy Kaiser, her younger brother, John Kaiser and their paternal cousins, Irene and Gertrude Cominator. To my knowledge, these church records have not been microfilmed as part of the Bowling Green State University Center for Archival Collections Church Records and Registers project, which has the records of other early Lutheran churches in Toledo, like Salem and St. Paul's downtown.
    Hope this helps!