Monday, May 25, 2009

Grace Lutheran, Toledo

This lovely photo of their altar was supplied by Tammy Smart, the church secretary (thanks!!). I spent over an hour in there one day last week, documenting their huge and beautiful sanctuary. Those photos are on deck.

One from outside NWO

This jawdropping edifice is the utterly fabulous Holy Trinity Lutheran in Buffalo. The photo is by Karl Josker, who has done a great service with his photo blogs, both artistically and historically, to the churches in that church wonderland of a city. When I was there last September, I covered the exterior of this place fairly well (it's located right across the street from the restaurant that originated Buffalo wings, and was pretty obvious!). This being on a Friday evening, there was no getting inside. Next time I'll pay them a Sunday morning visit!

Karl Josker-Lofty Photos (interiors)

Karl Josker-The Churches of Buffalo (exteriors)

My Photobucket shots of the exterior

Thursday, May 21, 2009

St. Lucas Lutheran, Toledo

It still looks like this -- This is the cover of the program issued at the time of the dedication of their current church building, a grand occasion coinciding with the congregation's 25th anniversary, July 25th to 29th, 1911. At that time, everything was still being done in German.

There will be MUCH more of this church, one of the most beautiful in the city of Toledo, at a later date; after I get more of a chance to peruse their wonderfully extensive archive collection.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An unexpected delight

While on my way to a convention at Kalahari in Sandusky this past Saturday morning, on Rt. 250 just a mile or so south of the hotel, I found myself saying, whoa, what is THIS?!
I obviously needed to come back down there later on, during my free time! And that I did, that afternoon. It was pouring down rain. I didn’t care.

Raindrops keep falling on my lens …
Just as I was about to leave, a car pulled up and the lady who got out, introduced herself as Sharon Brown, a seminary student doing an internship at the church. She had to get some things ready for the morning service the next day, and was gracious enough to make my day by letting me in for a few pictures. I found myself inside just the sweetest little country church!

Even on a dreary, rainy day, colors just pour in through those beautiful old windows …

Like many of the German country churches, this one was started by and for the benefit of a handful of area farm families. Every window was dedicated by church members. The church is located on Scheid Road, and that name also figured prominently in quite a few of the dedications.

Absolutely charming …

The mission of Salem Lutheran, Toledo

Dear God help them, they're doing Christ's work with His own hands ...

Friday, May 15, 2009

St. John's, Toledo - as it was 100 years ago

From the book "Fiftieth Anniversary of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Toledo, Ohio, 1864-1904."

And it still looks so much the same, even though the surrounding areas have seen profound changes ... that spire, along with the one of SS. Peter & Paul on the next block, now cozy up to I-75; together one of Toledo's memorable skyline landmarks. The finial atop the spire has been replaced with a cross.

The church underwent a major renovation at around the time of their 75th anniversary. I don't know at what point the canopy over the pulpit was removed and the murals on the ceiling sadly covered over ... but the quatrefoil windows were replaced with the drop-dead gorgeous imported German stained-glass windows that the church boasts to this day; as well as the wonderful angel lectern, and an altar that is larger than the one in this photo.

The parish house still stands and is used for the church offices (although the house to the left is long gone. That's part of the parking lot now).

This school building also still stands, with the doorway facing directly toward the apse of the church. However, it no longer looks like this. It hasn't been used as a school since the 1920's. Most of the windows are bricked up or covered with heavy steel shades; the doors are solid grey steel. I didn't know at the time whether or not they still used the building, but as it turns out, they very much DO use it as a fellowship hall. There's a completely furnished modern kitchen in there. The upstairs is now used for storage, but the frames that once held blackboards are still on the walls! The shades are to protect the windows (and one look at the freight door on the side of the building tells you why. It's riddled with bullet holes. Geez...)

Thanks to Kevin Hammer for the photos.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bethany Lutheran, Toledo - Home Sweet Home

Where better to start this than with my own home sweet home?

Bethany English Evangelical Lutheran Church, a mission of Glenwood Lutheran, was founded under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Alvin E. Bell, pastor of Glenwood. On Sunday, April 8, 1917, the congregation came into existence with 20 charter members, in the home of Mr. & Mrs. M.E. Wood on Fairfax. Descendants of the Wood family are still members of Bethany. The first church was a portable frame building that sat on Marne in the area where the parking lot now is.The cornerstone for the present simplified-Tudor style church, designed by architect Robert C. Gotwald of Springfield, Ohio, was laid on Sunday, June 19, 1927. The church was dedicated on September 11, 1927. The original building was used as an annex until 1948, at which time, thoroughly used up and worn out, it was sold and taken away – but the beautifully engraved old altar was saved, and is now used as a table for communion cup trays.
By the early 1950’s, the congregation had grown to the point where an addition was planned, which would double the size of the church. Additional property behind the church was purchased and ground was broken on August 2, 1953. The Robert E. Kayser Co. was contracted to build the addition, under the guidance of architect Charles L. Barber, a member of Bethany. The new addition, constructed almost seamlessly onto the rear of the church, was dedicated in May of 1954.
While there are only three windows in the sanctuary, they are striking. The large side windows, with their coats-of-arms symbolism, were inspired by English heraldic glass and feature various chrismons, as well as some marvelous swirled colors. The Good Shepherd window over the altar is simply splendid; in particular when the evening sun pours through it onto a fortunately-timed vesper service.During its history, Bethany has been served by 15 called pastors. Our current pastor is Rev. Jason Tyas. In 2006, we made the decision to twin (“yoke”) with Reformation Lutheran Church. We now share Pastor Tyas with them, and he does a remarkable job of serving both congregations.“Worshipping God as a growing community in Jesus Christ, committed to bringing the message of salvation to all through fellowship, education, and outreach.”