Friday, July 24, 2009

Grace Lutheran, Toledo

This information comes from a copy of the history section of a church directory, that was graciously provided to me by Pastor Merlin Jacobs:

Grace was founded on September 7, 1900; in a meeting room over a storefront that was located at Dorr and Hoag at the time. By 1902, this once-charming little church at Forest and Pinewood had been dedicated.
My mother was confirmed in this little old church, and my parents were married there. The Grace congregation hasn't been here since 1952, when they relocated to their current location near Monroe and Secor - which at the time, was really out in the sticks!

However, the wonderful Gothic interior furnishings: altar, pulpit, lectern, font, even the hymn board, are happily still in use at Ascension Lutheran, which bought this old church after Grace moved, and took it all with them when they moved to their current church at Dorr and Collingwood, nearly 30 years ago. That will be another post.

The front of the church is a bit tricky to photograph because it faces north, and looking at it from the front, you don't always get a sense of how big it really is --
... until you look at it from the side ...
To the right can be seen the roof of the smaller church built in 1952. When this larger sanctuary was built in 1959, the older church was incorporated into the design and is now the chapel, where contemporary services are held on Wednesday evenings. I will highlight the chapel in a different post.This is the remarkable view as you come in the front door ...
... much of which is commanded by the soaring, shining wood-beam ceiling, with the buttresses creating a latticework pattern as it progresses forward.
The windows all display this multicolored rectangular pattern that creates something of an abstract appearance.
Lots of 1950's-style diagonal lines ...

This huge cross is the centerpiece of the chancel.
A view back from the chancel steps, with just the arcade backlights on.
The big, beautiful window over the door.Lectern and pulpit.
The eternal flame burns against this backdrop of organ pipes ... and that organ is a roaring steamroller that can make those padded pews shake underneath your butt, especially when Debbie rides it in her special way - aided by a state-of-the-art sound system that was just installed over the last couple of years.
The unusual font ...
One of the chrismons that adorn the communion rail.
Oh-so-50's chandeliers ... notice the crosses on the individual lights.
Brickwork crosses line up along this low wall behind the last row of pews.
Straight down that hall will take you to the chapel; to the right puts you on the long hallway toward Brenner Hall, named in honor of Pastor Karl Brenner, who served the church for 43 years.

They want to make sure you're properly equipped!

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: