January 12, 2012 |
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.
November 8, 2011 |
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.
November 7, 2008 |
Archaeology left a lasting imprint on the arts of the 1980s in America and Europe, and Claus Mroczynski's photographs of awesome prehistoric American Indian habitats in the Southwest capture a strong sense of that interest. The Michener Museum recognizes the important legacy of this late, outstanding German-born New Hope photographer with the exhibit "Claus Mroczynski: Sacred Places of the Southwest" at its New Hope location. The 46 featured black and white photos represent 18 years spent, starting in the mid-1980s, constantly traveling back and forth from New Hope to remote sacred grounds of ancient Indians in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
May 19, 2006 |
The bell is old and heavy, its wooden supports weak and flagging. But that's only one building problem faced by historic St. Mary's Church, an 1873 neo-Gothic building on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The roof is in need of repair. The stained glass needs restoration. And the masonry is not in the best of shape. "There are holes throughout the entire facility," Alison Williams, church administrator, said with a sigh. But St. Mary's also has a plan for repairs and a great desire to preserve both its building and an ambitious cluster of community programs.
December 25, 2005 |
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.
May 31, 2005 |
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.
May 4, 2005 |
On a changeable cloudy day last week, the Rev. Constantin-Florin Salgau finally finished a grueling repair of his church roof. A remarkable feat for a Romanian Orthodox priest faced with a building's collapsing joists, crumbling plaster, dissolving murals and a host of leaks. But this was only a way station in the ongoing struggle to save historic Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church from disintegration. Before the roof work, Salgau reconstructed Holy Trinity's cupola.
December 17, 2002 |
CHURCHES and former synagogues are an unforgettable part of my regular walks in North Philadelphia. There they stand, like the Rock in old hymns, while so much else around them crumbles. Sacred places found in a neighborhood like Strawberry Mansion make several points to all who have eyes to see. First, these buildings memorialize a time when even middling neighborhoods erected magnificent monuments to their faiths. A hundred years ago, when North Central Philadelphia was thriving, these places of worship could hold a candle to anything in Center City or Chestnut Hill.
December 3, 2000 |
Sacred art is his forte. Yet Bolton Morris is probably the best 20th-century artist in our region to have had hardly any career as an exhibitor, apart from respectful attention to individual works he was commissioned to make for sacred places. Now that this versatile artist is 80, Villanova University Art Gallery has filled the exhibition gap with a large retrospective show of Morris' work. From beginning to end, this 91-item display is more than a document of one artist's prolific underground career.
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.