St. Joseph Church

Everyone should have friends who are willing to derail their plans to slam on the brakes whenever you gasp the words “look at that!”

My Pittsburgh pal is a champ in this category. When we spotted this Catholic church atop a hill in a tiny western Pennsylvania village, she didn’t hesitate to look for the entrance.

The door was open so we were able to let ourselves in. My friend prayed while I admired the quiet and the light of this beautiful sanctuary.

It really is gorgeous.

It was built in 1893 and, while it feels historic, it also feels fresh and well cared for.

The stained glass is magnificent.

The cemetery contains numerous old graves with interesting, finely crafted headstones.

Lovely, eh?

Just before we left, we met a woman who is a longtime congregant. We had a quick chat with her and she confirmed that the church has an active congregation and she seemed positively thrilled that we showed an interest.

It made my heart happy to think there are still people out there so devoted to their church and faith and that they would make strangers feel so welcome.

Just In Time

I turned just in time to see this fellow zipping down the street on his bike. This picture summons happy memories and I appreciate how the church, the colors, the motion and the rainy street work together.

That’s St Bernard’s Parish, finished in 1876 to accommodate a growing Irish American congregation. Now it’s called Our Lady of Guadalupe at St Bernard’s Church. Whatever you call it, this is even more stunning in person. That enormous rose window is larger than life and I am thrilled that we got to see it while strolling down West 14th Street in New York.

Maple Street United Methodist Church

Maple Street United Methodist Church is a prominent fixture just beyond downtown Lancaster, Ohio. I always enjoy a look-see when in the neighborhood but it’s especially nice at Christmas.

As lovely as it is to adventure and see new things, it’s equally marvelous to see the same landmarks change with the seasons. This one didn’t disappoint!

This Day

“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.” – Sarah Addison Allen

We are expecting rain here in southern Ohio today. I intend to use this day for rest and some much needed catch up work around the house. If I play my cards right, I’ll make time to cook something tasty and nutritious for this week’s lunches as well.

Not every day can be for adventures. Sometimes we have to stay home and recover – or better yet – prepare for what’s ahead! Enjoy this day, friends!

The Church of Saint John the Baptist Episcopal

This church was a bit of a mystery to me when I found it back in 2021. The Church of Saint John the Baptist Episcopal is located on a pleasant street in Dunkirk, New York. I stumbled upon it while exploring the area around Jamestown in 2021.

I had gone to Jamestown for the Lucille Ball attractions and was out planning to see other things including a statue to the native son who created comic strip canine Marmaduke.

The slate roof of the church drew me right in and down Fourth Street for a closer look.

The front doors are gorgeous and inviting, adorned with festive Easter wreaths.

And yet, look up to find a broken window directly above the doors. Did they not know the window had been broken?

The church seemed well cared for with its pretty wreaths and some nicely tended spring bulbs in the side yard. They had Easter services just a couple of weeks before my visit. Surely someone would have been by to notice and at least board up the window.

I’m dying to known what’s going on there now but their Facebook page hasn’t been updated in over a year. I’ll have to cruise by if I’m ever in the neighborhood. Then again, maybe I’m better off not knowing. I may not like the answer.

Grand old churches like this one are at risk in towns and neighborhoods across the nation. Between growing maintenance and operations costs, aging congregations and the lure of big churches with community center type facilities, it’s hard for a simple House of the Lord to keep going. I see them all the time empty, run down, and often sold for cheap housing. It’s a sad fate but a very real one.

This church reminded me of a sweet old grandmother with a lot of life left in her, much wisdom and warm hugs to share despite a prominent broken tooth.

Here’s hoping she is getting the care she deserves and that the doors are still open for those who need a place to go for spiritual guidance.

St. Paul Catholic Church

I haven’t forced you to look at any churches or doors for a while. This photo kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.

The church is St Paul Catholic Church in Athens. In a town with a lot to look at, it’s easily missed even though it is along the beaten path.

The congregation has been around for a long time and was founded by Irish immigrants. There’s even a tie to the communities of Wilkesville and Zaleski which are near to me. They tell the story of that past on their website in case you’re interested in learning more.

It has some gorgeous attention to detail including the doors, stained glass and that small white cross.