About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

InSPIREd Sunday and Mosaic Monday - Episcopal and Buddhist Neighbors in St. Matthews



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:



Inside, people worship in a circle with the altar in the center of the sanctuary.  This is possible because of  design of the tent-like roof.  And here are a few more photos of contemporary architectural and decorative details:

Left to right:  contemporary cross spire on steeple, angel sculpture in front of massive ginkgo tree, red Episcopalian door

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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.

20 comments:

Brian King said...

I happen to like that roof! I also like the idea of a round sanctuary. I grew up in a church with a circular auditorium, but it wasn't a full circle...more like 180 degrees. I like the steeple, too!

Vee said...

Sounds as if this is an exciting time for your community. The church design is truly unique and seems to fit in very nicely there.

eileeninmd said...

I like the steeple, design and the colorful prayers flags. What a exciting visitor to your community. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

TexWisGirl said...

there's a church north of dallas that reminds me of this structure. very cool neighborhood visitor, too!

Lorrie said...

I like church designs that convey meaning - much thought went into yours. Lots of interesting things happening in your community.

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

i'm loving that roof. so different & very unique.

curious the 1st view i guess you were looking up, right? so neat!! great post, Faye.

thanks for linking up with us today. have a great week. ( :

Twyla and Lindsey said...

I love the architecture. Twyla

Rose said...

Oh, this is a beauty...it fits in perfectly in its surroundings.

Dorothy said...

I like the modern looking church! While I like traditional architecture, I've always been drawn to the modern designs.

George said...

I'm usually not much of a fan of modern architecture, but I do like the looks of this church. The Buddhist temple down the street is pretty neat as well.

Jan n Jer said...

I can understand the reaction of the people over the new design. The age n design of the roof just dont go together! It takes time to wrap your mind around it! The circular sanctuary sounds very friendly! I would love to see and hear the Dali Lama speak. Such spirituality n peace!

Sayre said...

It is a pretty different look for an Episcopal church, which tends to go for the more stone-and-mortar look (traditional English). I rather like this though.

One of the reasons I love being an Episcopalian is that we are pretty open to ideas. It is called the "Thinking Man's Church" because we are free to question everything. Here, we regularly welcome a Trappist Monk - he visits town once a year. We'd love to have the Dali Lama. And we love the new pope! To our congregation, exploration is part of our make-up.

Diana Taylor said...

I think the roof is beautiful - the front view reminds me of large wings enveloping and keeping the congregation safe under them - a bit fanciful perhaps but that was my initial thought! Thanks for visiting and hope you have a great week.

Mary said...

That is a very unusual looking church but pretty just the same!

Anu Varma said...

Great post! I am hosting a giveaway from Arcadian Home on my blog. Would be great to see you there! Have a great week!

Joe Todd said...

Coming to Louisville to hear/see the Dali Lama was an "almost" trip for me.. I really need to visit Louisville you have so many neat museums.. Have a great week

Jackie/Jake said...

What an interesting post!
Thanks for dropping by and visiting!

EG CameraGirl said...

How ecumenical! :)

A Quiet Corner said...

I love this church, temple, place of worship!!!! Nice to meet you Faye!... :)JP

Sally in WA said...

Wow! St. Matthews is an impressive building. I can imagine the uproar it created all those years ago. And thanks for sharing the Buddhist temple, too.

Sorry I am so late in visiting this week. Thanks for sharing these in InSPIREd Sunday.