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Religious Buildings

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NEWS
June 6, 1989 | By Michael D. Schaffer, Inquirer Staff Writer
They were built as houses of worship, places of spiritual solace in America's big cities. But often they were vital parts of the neighborhood around them, places where people met to socialize as well as worship. Churches and synagogues, woven into the fabric of American history, are "such a manifestation of this melting pot we've got," according to A. Robert Jaeger, an expert in the preservation of historic buildings. In more recent times, many became symbols of hope amid urban decay.
NEWS
March 11, 2011 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
The Church of the Assumption gets its final shot at redemption Monday. That's when the Callowhill Neighborhood Association will make a last-ditch appeal to Philadelphia building officials to halt the planned demolition of the landmark Spring Garden Street church where the Catholic saint Katharine Drexel was baptized. As hopeless causes go, the Assumption's chances look better than most. Not only does the ocher-colored church have a skilled and determined neighborhood group in its corner, it has the good fortune to be located in a reviving neighborhood, a brisk 10-minute walk from City Hall.
NEWS
March 29, 2013 | Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar - President Thein Sein said Thursday that his government would use force if necessary to quell deadly religious rioting that started last week, as attacks on Muslims by Buddhist mobs continued in several towns. In his first public comments on the violence, Thein Sein warned in a televised speech that he would make all legal efforts to stop "political opportunists and religious extremists" trying to sow hatred between faiths. Police announced Thursday that 42 people had been killed, 37 religious buildings and 1,227 houses damaged or destroyed, and 68 arrests made in the three affected regions since unrest started March 20. The violence began with rioting by Buddhists targeting minority Muslims in the central city of Meikhtila that drove about 12,000 people from their homes.
NEWS
May 10, 1987 | By Matt Freeman, Special to The Inquirer
A proposal to build four church buildings on a 24.3-acre tract in West Goshen Township has been rejected by zoning officials because the project's plans lacked required information. The Christ Community Church, at 1244 West Chester Pike, had proposed constructing a church, school building, and administrative centers at the southeast and southwest corners of Ashbridge and Greenhill Roads, on a tract zoned for residential use. The church had submitted a draft of the project to the West Goshen Zoning Hearing Board, which must review all proposals to construct religious buildings in residential districts.
NEWS
February 1, 2012 | By Michael Greenle
With the recent announcement that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia would close or merge 34 Catholic schools in Philadelphia, a city already yoked with an unenviable number of vacant lots and deteriorating buildings (not to mention surface parking lots), is presented with a fresh inventory whose decay potentially starts now. While the educational challenges presented by these changes are daunting, and many schools are battling to remain active (and I do hope they succeed), forethought should be given to the potential reuse of these buildings so that they can continue to serve their neighborhoods.
NEWS
August 26, 1998 | By Mark Alan Hughes and Anais Loizillon
Our region's oldest religious buildings represent an enduring connection between people divided into suburb and city, white and black, rich and poor. After two generations of suburbanization and population loss, many congregations in the city have dissolved or moved to the suburban counties. Yet the buildings endure in older neighborhoods like North Philadelphia. And, in many cases, new congregations with different denominations inherit the historic properties of earlier residents.
NEWS
September 17, 1989 | By Elise Vider, Special to The Inquirer
Saving old buildings, as any preservationist can tell you, requires imagination, ingenuity and, sometimes, fervent prayer. It took all three to pull off the conversion of the Church of the New Jerusalem, the Swedenborgian church at 22d and Chestnut Streets, into a modern corporate headquarters. The result is a mixed blessing. The bottom line is that a fine old Victorian church has been saved, with many of its features conscientiously restored or successfully rehabilitated. But other changes required to turn the church into a modern, functional office building, even if necessary, can't help causing preservationists concern.
NEWS
March 19, 1994 | By Michael Vitez, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Alfred "Al" Panepinto, 86, a well-known architect in the Philadelphia area for more than 40 years, died March 12 in Fort Collins, Colo. Mr. Panepinto, whose passions were art and architecture, spent 35 years working for J. Howard Pew at Sun Oil. In 50 years, he designed a wide range of industrial, educational and religious buildings, from classrooms to a convent. His last project, one of his favorites, was the Columbus Memorial completed in Norristown in 1992. A self-taught cartoonist and avid painter, he did portraits of Casey Stengel, Bing Crosby, Leopold Stokowski, Pope John XXIII and many other famous people, and traveled from Shea Stadium to the Vatican to have them autographed.
NEWS
March 15, 2013 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
In a deal that could have wide ramifications for Philadelphia, the Preservation Alliance has dropped its legal opposition to demolishing two landmarked church buildings in West Philadelphia after the property's developer agreed to create a fund to preserve the main church, the Episcopal Cathedral. The proposed demolition of the two brownstones to make way for a 25-story apartment tower provoked an outcry among preservationists because the properties were listed on both the city and national historic registers.
NEWS
October 5, 2011
By Silvio Laccetti Big headlines greeted the recent release of new federal poverty statistics, fueling a vitriolic debate about wealth and poverty in America. The same ancient rhetoric is resurrected every election cycle, confusing the issue and further dividing the populace. To have a more meaningful discussion, we must keep in mind that poverty is relative. We can and do quantify poverty. Federal poverty lines are drawn based on yearly income: $10,890 for one person, $22,350 for a household of four.
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NEWS
March 29, 2013 | Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar - President Thein Sein said Thursday that his government would use force if necessary to quell deadly religious rioting that started last week, as attacks on Muslims by Buddhist mobs continued in several towns. In his first public comments on the violence, Thein Sein warned in a televised speech that he would make all legal efforts to stop "political opportunists and religious extremists" trying to sow hatred between faiths. Police announced Thursday that 42 people had been killed, 37 religious buildings and 1,227 houses damaged or destroyed, and 68 arrests made in the three affected regions since unrest started March 20. The violence began with rioting by Buddhists targeting minority Muslims in the central city of Meikhtila that drove about 12,000 people from their homes.
NEWS
March 15, 2013 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
In a deal that could have wide ramifications for Philadelphia, the Preservation Alliance has dropped its legal opposition to demolishing two landmarked church buildings in West Philadelphia after the property's developer agreed to create a fund to preserve the main church, the Episcopal Cathedral. The proposed demolition of the two brownstones to make way for a 25-story apartment tower provoked an outcry among preservationists because the properties were listed on both the city and national historic registers.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 15, 2012 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Let's face it, historic buildings get torn down all the time in Philadelphia, a city with more fine architecture than anyone knows what to do with. But not many of the casualties are under the special protection of the city's Historical Commission. That's what makes the threatened demolition of the Church of the Assumption so troubling. In 2009, the future of the North Philadelphia landmark looked, if not exactly rosy, then quite hopeful. The 19th-century church where the Catholic saint Katharine Drexel was baptized had just earned a place on the commission's selective Historic Register, the strongest safeguard against demolition.
NEWS
February 1, 2012 | By Michael Greenle
With the recent announcement that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia would close or merge 34 Catholic schools in Philadelphia, a city already yoked with an unenviable number of vacant lots and deteriorating buildings (not to mention surface parking lots), is presented with a fresh inventory whose decay potentially starts now. While the educational challenges presented by these changes are daunting, and many schools are battling to remain active (and I do hope they succeed), forethought should be given to the potential reuse of these buildings so that they can continue to serve their neighborhoods.
NEWS
October 5, 2011
By Silvio Laccetti Big headlines greeted the recent release of new federal poverty statistics, fueling a vitriolic debate about wealth and poverty in America. The same ancient rhetoric is resurrected every election cycle, confusing the issue and further dividing the populace. To have a more meaningful discussion, we must keep in mind that poverty is relative. We can and do quantify poverty. Federal poverty lines are drawn based on yearly income: $10,890 for one person, $22,350 for a household of four.
NEWS
March 11, 2011 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
The Church of the Assumption gets its final shot at redemption Monday. That's when the Callowhill Neighborhood Association will make a last-ditch appeal to Philadelphia building officials to halt the planned demolition of the landmark Spring Garden Street church where the Catholic saint Katharine Drexel was baptized. As hopeless causes go, the Assumption's chances look better than most. Not only does the ocher-colored church have a skilled and determined neighborhood group in its corner, it has the good fortune to be located in a reviving neighborhood, a brisk 10-minute walk from City Hall.
NEWS
August 26, 1998 | By Mark Alan Hughes and Anais Loizillon
Our region's oldest religious buildings represent an enduring connection between people divided into suburb and city, white and black, rich and poor. After two generations of suburbanization and population loss, many congregations in the city have dissolved or moved to the suburban counties. Yet the buildings endure in older neighborhoods like North Philadelphia. And, in many cases, new congregations with different denominations inherit the historic properties of earlier residents.
NEWS
November 2, 1997 | By David O'Reilly, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The stairs creak. Flaked paint crackles under his feet. And he is startled by the dead pigeon on the landing. "What's that doing here?" exclaims the Rev. Isaac M. Smith. But Mr. Smith, 72, laughs and shrugs. Death is no stranger here in North Philadelphia, and so the pastor keeps climbing - past the empty bell tower and up to the third floor of the fellowship hall at Mars Hill Baptist Church. "The engineer said it's structurally sound," he says, glancing around at the boarded Gothic windows, the buckled and water-stained floors, the old electrical wiring and the vaulted ceilings of these long-abandoned rooms, built 107 years ago. And "someday soon," he hopes, it will be transformed.
LIVING
November 3, 1996 | By David O'Reilly, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Some wore clerical garb. A few wore head braces. Some sat in wheelchairs. Most of the rest were parents of mentally retarded or developmentally delayed children, gathered to discuss the ways religious congregations extend or withhold true community to those who are "different. " "When my son, Danny, was ready for his bar mitzvah, I called the rabbi," Annette Faktorow of South Philadelphia told a workshop at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel. When her son, who is retarded, was called to read from the Torah, "he could not participate, so I held his hand and read for him. It was a beautiful moment.
LIVING
May 12, 1995 | By Alan J. Heavens, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
If Joseph Milano had his way, he'd document and repair every stained glass window in every church and house from here to Pittsburgh and from New York to Washington. However, there are only 168 hours in a week, and Milano already appears to be working every one of them. Just ask his wife and son, who stopped by his Lansdowne workshop one recent noontime to drag him home for lunch. "I'm an avid student," said Milano, 32, whose shop is littered with pieces of stained-glass windows from houses in West Philadelphia and the Main Line and churches all over the area.
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