This is the very contemporary steeple of the St. Matthews Episcopal Church in the the small city of St. Matthews near Louisville. The church has been around for many years. In fact, the city took its name from the old St. Matthews Episcopal Church. In the late 1950s the present sanctuary was built in mostly residential neighborhood of St. Matthews. And what a shock it must have been for the community because the architect decided to depart from the more traditional churches and designed what is thought to be one of the first contemporary Episcopalian churches in the U.S.
First reactions to the church were not very positive. It was called a "ski lodge" church for its shape. I'll admit when I went over to take photos a few weeks ago, I was puzzled by the design myself and didn't like it. However, the more you look, the more you come to appreciate the building and how it sets so comfortably in the landscape. The architect intended for the soaring, tent-like roof to evoke the gathering places of early Christians in the desert. Here are front and side views:
Left to right: contemporary cross spire on steeple, angel sculpture in front of massive ginkgo tree, red Episcopalian door
* * * * *
Now for the Buddhist part of this post: I noticed this message on the church sign welcoming the Dali Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, to the neighborhood:
At first I was puzzled by the "our community" even though I knew The Dali Lama was going to be in Louisville for a visit promoting compassion and spiritual understand among all religions. It has been quite exciting to have him visit since he is recognized as one of 25 most influential religious figures of the 20th century, up there with Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham. What I discovered was that there was a new Buddhist temple just opening right down the street from St. Matthews Episcopal!
Here it is, the Drepung Gomang Instutute, a formerly residential property converted to a Buddhist temple. As part of his visit, the Dalai Lama came to the temple and blessed it. The temple was festooned with Tibetan prayer flags and banners and Buddhist symbols painted on the walks for the ceremony:
Here are a few other photos of the temple and grounds:
Clockwise: temple sign, Auspicious Symbol, Buddha statue, colorful door, Tibetan prayer flag, temple entrance
My final thought for InSPIREd Sunday: Leave it to the Episcopalians to welcome the Buddhists to the 'hood! :-)
Linking to InSPIREd Sunday , a new meme celebrating places of worship and their unique architecture and history. And Mosaic Monday. , the meme that allows photographers to tell stories in pictures.