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Sacred Places

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NEWS
May 31, 2005 | By A. Robert Jaeger and Charles B. Casper
We've seen it before, but it's no less shocking - the burned-out shell of a church building on the day after a major fire. Often we are looking at the church through the ragged tracery of a broken Gothic window, but instead of the sanctuary ceiling, we see the sky beyond. The latest example of this tragedy ? First Baptist Church of Conshohocken ? reminds us again that our sacred places are beautiful but vulnerable. A fire of that magnitude challenges our assumption that a building evoking the 13th century will, of course, make it through the 21st.
NEWS
December 25, 2005 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Perhaps it's not too much to hope that an umbrella won't be needed at Christmas Mass. Or a hard hat. Or a pew near a fire exit. Now, thanks to what its sponsors say is a unique new funding collaboration, five historic churches will receive major grants to attack building woes - woes that have forced congregations under umbrellas and into hard hats and toward fire exits. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and nonprofit Partners for Sacred Places, a service organization, have put up $250,000 each to help the Philadelphia churches meet urgent structural needs.
NEWS
October 14, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Weeks after completing its last round of parish mergers and closures, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday that 14 more parishes in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties could be combined with nearby churches or shuttered. This time, the archdiocese is targeting three clusters of churches for cutbacks: In Delaware County's Springfield Township, the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi, Holy Cross, and St. Kevin. In Montgomery County, the parishes of St. Alphonsus in Maple Glen, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph in Ambler, St. Catherine of Siena in Horsham, St. Genevieve in Flourtown, and Holy Martyrs in Oreland.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 8, 2011 | By Howard Shapiro, Inquirer Staff Writer
The city's newest stage officially opens Wednesday night in a Center City space with a high ceiling and 100 new seats. It doesn't even have a name yet. But already it has developed a pedigree. The theater, on a lower floor of First Baptist Church of Philadelphia at 17th and Sansom Streets, is the first success in a project called Arts in Sacred Places, a Philadelphia-based project that will match unused spaces in holy sites with the needs of arts groups looking for room to rehearse, keep offices, perform, exhibit, and even build sets and costumes.
NEWS
October 31, 1997 | By David O'Reilly, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Urban religious congregations are essential providers of community services, especially for the poorest of the poor, and need broad support from corporations, foundations and even government, according to a national study released here yesterday. Urban congregations typically operate four community service programs, serve four times more people than they have members, and provide $140,000 worth of services and meeting space to their neighborhoods, the Philadelphia-based Partners for Sacred Places reported in a new study: Sacred Places at Risk.
NEWS
September 2, 1998
Saving the buildings that help save communities Mark Alan Hughes and Anais Loizillon (Inquirer, Aug. 26) were right to call on religious leaders to protect the contribution that Philadelphia's fragile church and synagogue buildings make to their neighborhoods. Our research has shown that congregations provide an enormous subsidy that fuels countless day-care, feeding, after-school and job-training programs all across the region. We need an ecumenical approach that encourages suburban congregations to help their inner-city brethren keep sacred places going before they suffer further disrepair and dismemberment.
NEWS
January 12, 2012 | BY NATALIE POMPILIO, pompiln@phillynews.com 215-854-2595
THE REV. VINCENT SMITH was looking at the sky through one of the two gaping holes in the roof of Point Breeze's 19th Street Baptist Church and wondering when he could bring his congregation home. For the past five years, his 100 parishioners have worshipped in an adjoining building, forced to leave their sanctuary - designed by acclaimed architect Frank Furness and built in 1875 - because of the roof and other structural problems. "It can be a little discouraging to some.
NEWS
November 6, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
Luna Theater Company, based at the historic Church of the Crucifixion in Bella Vista since 2013, abruptly canceled the remainder of its season last week because "our desires for a long-term lease extension fell on deaf ears," according to an email from Gregory Scott Campbell, founder and producing artistic director. The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, owner of the church, refused to extend Luna's lease, signed in 2013 and running until August 2016. The church building was shut in March.
NEWS
January 13, 2015 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
LIKE SO MANY churches that have closed in recent years, South Philly's massive Shiloh Baptist Church, built in 1870, has a small congregation burdened with huge repair bills, which is not a recipe for survival. But the Victorian-era church on Christian Street near 21st, one of the city's oldest African-American Baptist congregations, found two unlikely Earth angels. Shiloh Baptist rents its soaring second-floor spaces to Brat Productions, an edgy rock 'n' roll cabaret troupe, and to Brian Sanders' JUNK Dance Company, which choreographs around stuff that Sanders trash-picks on Philadelphia streets.
NEWS
August 1, 2015 | By Erin Edinger-Turoff, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Historical Commission has unanimously designated as historic the frescoes of St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, the oldest of their kind in this country. They were painted in 1848, one year after the church, at 243 N. Lawrence St., alongside the Ben Franklin Bridge, was rebuilt. It was burned down during anti-Catholic riots in 1844, a time when Irish immigrants largely made up its thousands of parishioners. It's remarkable, historians say, that the frescoes have survived to the present day. "The Lord Seeth," inscribed above a massive fresco depicting the Crucifixion, appears at the front altar of the Old City church, built in a style reminiscent of Roman cathedrals.
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ENTERTAINMENT
May 25, 2016
ARIES (March 21-April 19). It's time to convince the childish part of yourself that your higher-minded self is worthy of just as much respect as the other authorities in your life and more. TAURUS (April 20-May 20). You're in a position to be a tiebreaker; however, it is likely that you will see both sides of the argument and agree with neither. Don't vote just because they ask you to. There's another answer. GEMINI (May 21-June 21). You're learning the intricacies of a power dynamic.
NEWS
January 18, 2016
The first time Celeste Morello succeeded in getting a Roman Catholic church mural listed on the city's historic register, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia issued a statement applauding the news. Emboldened, Morello filed another nomination in December to protect a group of important paintings in the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. But this time, her efforts did not go over so well. On Jan. 7, the archdiocese responded by sending a stern letter to all parish priests warning them not to cooperate with preservationists, and to report any attempts by "independent parties" to landmark church property.
NEWS
November 6, 2015 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
Luna Theater Company, based at the historic Church of the Crucifixion in Bella Vista since 2013, abruptly canceled the remainder of its season last week because "our desires for a long-term lease extension fell on deaf ears," according to an email from Gregory Scott Campbell, founder and producing artistic director. The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, owner of the church, refused to extend Luna's lease, signed in 2013 and running until August 2016. The church building was shut in March.
NEWS
August 1, 2015 | By Erin Edinger-Turoff, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Historical Commission has unanimously designated as historic the frescoes of St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, the oldest of their kind in this country. They were painted in 1848, one year after the church, at 243 N. Lawrence St., alongside the Ben Franklin Bridge, was rebuilt. It was burned down during anti-Catholic riots in 1844, a time when Irish immigrants largely made up its thousands of parishioners. It's remarkable, historians say, that the frescoes have survived to the present day. "The Lord Seeth," inscribed above a massive fresco depicting the Crucifixion, appears at the front altar of the Old City church, built in a style reminiscent of Roman cathedrals.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 25, 2015 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Hoping to dissuade the Historical Commission earlier this month from landmarking Fishtown's beloved St. Laurentius church, parish attorney Michael V. Phillips reeled off a litany of reasons that its preservation was doomed to fail. The 19th-century building is no longer a working church. Its brownstone facade requires expensive repairs. If the Polish Catholic church received city protection, he predicted darkly, "it would just end up sitting empty. " There it was, the killer argument.
NEWS
January 13, 2015 | BY DAN GERINGER, Daily News Staff Writer geringd@phillynews.com, 215-854-5961
LIKE SO MANY churches that have closed in recent years, South Philly's massive Shiloh Baptist Church, built in 1870, has a small congregation burdened with huge repair bills, which is not a recipe for survival. But the Victorian-era church on Christian Street near 21st, one of the city's oldest African-American Baptist congregations, found two unlikely Earth angels. Shiloh Baptist rents its soaring second-floor spaces to Brat Productions, an edgy rock 'n' roll cabaret troupe, and to Brian Sanders' JUNK Dance Company, which choreographs around stuff that Sanders trash-picks on Philadelphia streets.
NEWS
October 14, 2014 | By Jessica Parks, Inquirer Staff Writer
Weeks after completing its last round of parish mergers and closures, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday that 14 more parishes in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties could be combined with nearby churches or shuttered. This time, the archdiocese is targeting three clusters of churches for cutbacks: In Delaware County's Springfield Township, the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi, Holy Cross, and St. Kevin. In Montgomery County, the parishes of St. Alphonsus in Maple Glen, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph in Ambler, St. Catherine of Siena in Horsham, St. Genevieve in Flourtown, and Holy Martyrs in Oreland.
NEWS
July 29, 2014 | By Inga Saffron, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Trinity Memorial Church at 22d and Spruce Streets was failing in the summer of 1994, and the few dozen remaining congregants knew it. They talked about selling off the oak pews, or even the chocolate-brown Victorian building itself, but the conversation kept going in circles. The members of the little Episcopal church just couldn't agree what to do. Then, in the midst of their collective soul-searching, the historic church and its congregation were saved, oddly enough, by a bolt of lightning.
NEWS
July 9, 2014 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
James Gordon Winkler, 62, of Bala Cynwyd, a Philadelphia architect and bluegrass music lover, died Tuesday, July 1, of cancer at his home. Mr. Winkler's passion was architecture and design. "He believed in the power of good design to influence the vitality of cities, and in the preservation of buildings as a connection to the past," said his wife, Marion "Mimi" Converse Winkler, also an architect. He also enjoyed mentoring the next generation of architects. Mr. Winkler was raised in North Wilkesboro, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
NEWS
April 7, 2014 | By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
ANOTHER YEAR, and the feisty members of Fishtown's St. Laurentius Catholic Church are going toe-to-toe again with their oft-nemesis, the Philadelphia Archdiocese. First came word in 2012 that the archdiocese would shutter the parish school, even though its enrollment was increasing. A fight ensued, led by passionate well-organized parish families, and St. Laurentius prevailed (the school is doing well, by the way.) Then the archdiocese announced in 2013 that St. Laurentius would merge its parish operations into Holy Name Church, a few blocks away.
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