Sunday, July 31, 2011

Note the flying buttresses on the rear of the church

Notre-Dame Cathedral
Paris, France

"Notre Dame de Paris (French for Our Lady of Paris), also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra (official chair), of the Archbishop of Paris, currently André Vingt-Trois. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe. It was restored and saved from destruction by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlier Romanesque architecture.

Rose Window and panel windows beneath
"The cathedral suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution in the 1790s, when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. During the 19th century, an extensive restoration project was completed, returning the cathedral to its previous state." (See Link.)

"Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses (See top photo.) around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.

Tourists in front of church, note rose window and panel windows

Construction: Ground breaking in 1163 and completion in 1345.

Photos: Copies of 1978 post cards.
                 Photo of tourists, Laura Wilson who had her 8th birthday in Paris that
                 year, and brother Richard Wilson age 9 taken by mother Suzanne
                Wilson in 1978.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stanford Memorial Church
Stanford, California

"Stanford Memorial Church (also known as MemChu) is located at the center of the Stanford University campus in Stanford, California, United States. It was built during the American Renaissance[1] by Jane Stanford as a memorial to her husband Leland. Designed by architect Charles A. Coolidge, a protegé of Henry Hobson Richardson, the church has been called "the University's architectural crown jewel".[2]

12 An interior view looking from high in the gallery, past two large arches which support the dome, and into the lofty semi-circular chancel. The building is of very large scale, and every part of the interior is covered with mosaic or carved decoration. In the chancel, a priest officiates for a bride and groom with eleven attendants.
                               A wedding ceremony  in the Chancel (Wikipedia)

"Designs for the church were submitted to Jane Stanford and the university trustees in 1898, and it was dedicated in 1903. The building is Romanesque in form and Byzantine in its details, inspired by churches in the region of Venice and, especially, Ravenna. Its stained glass windows and extensive mosaics are based on religious paintings the Stanfords admired in Europe. The church has four pipe organs, which allow musicians to produce many styles of organ music. Stanford Memorial Church has withstood two major earthquakes, in 1906 and 1989, and was extensively renovated after each.

This stained-glass window shows two angels carrying a small child up towards Christ seated on golden clouds in while a group of people below are watching.
                                           Christ welcoming a soul into Heaven,
                                   a reference to the death of Leland Stanford Jr.

"According to architectural historian Willis L. Hall, the church's 20 large stained glass windows "are as much a feature of the church as the mosaics". The windows, designed by Frederick Stymetz Lamb (1863–1928) and fabricated by J&R Lamb Studios, his father's firm in New York City, took three years to complete, and eight months to install at Stanford. Jane Stanford hired Lamb because she felt he was more interested in "the ecclesiastical rather than commercial aspect of the work". The installation of the windows at Stanford Memorial Church was the largest enterprise of its kind at the time, and the project is considered one of the best examples of Lamb's work. Stanford chose the life of Christ for the windows' theme, inspired by the religious paintings by European master painters...(See Link) 

"Stanford Memorial Church was the earliest and has been "among the most prominent" non-denominational churches on the West Coast of the United States.[3] Since its dedication in 1903, the church's goal has been to serve the spiritual needs of the university in a non-sectarian way. The church's first chaplain, David Charles Gardner, began a tradition of leadership which has guided the development of Stanford University's spiritual, ethical, and academic relation to religion. The church's chaplains were instrumental in the founding of Stanford's religious studies department, moving Stanford from a "completely secular university"at the middle of the century to "the renaissance of faith and learning at Stanford" in the late 1960s, when the study of religion at the university focused on social and ethical issues like race and the Vietnam War.

"Stanford Memorial Church has suffered two major earthquakes, in 1906 and in 1989. Although extensively damaged, the church was restored after each. The 1906 quake wrecked much of the church, felled the spire, cracked the walls, and "injured beyond repair" the mosaics and Carrara marble statuary in the chancel.

"The mosaic project (See photo directly above.) began in 1900 and took five years to complete.[7] Jane Stanford chose mosaics to decorate her church because of the similar weather in Italy and Northern California, where the moderate climates and rainy seasons in both settings protect the images from erosion and clear the pollution that accumulates on many buildings in large cities. As Hall states, the "mosaics on the facade are always clear and brilliant."[81] Their "shimmering quality" was created by different tones of green and gold;[71] the artists that installed the mosaics had over 20,000 shades of colors to choose from.[82] The images cost US$97,000,[8][note 8] and were based upon original watercolors created by artist Antonio Paoletti.[note 9] Jane Stanford worked closely with Paoletti, planning a combination of Old Testament and New Testament scenes that represented men and women equally." (See Link.)

Photos: Top and bottom photos taken in Stanford, California in 2009 by SW. (In the top photo the tree on the right with the lavender flowers is a Jacaranda.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Holy Trinity Cathedral
San Francisco, California

"Holy Trinity Cathedral Parish traces its history to December 2, 1857, when the first Orthodox Society was founded in San Francisco. Ten years later, on September 2, 1867, it was incorporated as the Greek Russian Slavonian Orthodox Eastern Church and Benevolent Society. During these years, the Orthodox population of the Bay Area was spiritually and sacramentally served by chaplains from Russian Navy ships that frequented San Francisco Bay.

Sanctuary Front Altar (Link)

"During the Holy Week of 1868, an Orthodox Priest was sent to the City from Alaska to conduct the Paschal services here. That priest, Father Nicholas Kovrigin, became the first permanent Orthodox minister in San Francisco Another Alaskan missionary, Archpriest Paul Kedrolivansky, became the first Rector of the San Francisco parish (+1878).

"In 1872, the Right Reverend Bishop John  transferred the headquarters of the ruling hierarchy of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska to San Francisco. Since then, it has been a cathedral church...

"The bell tower of the Cathedral is adorned with a set of five wonderful bells donated by the Emperor Alexander III in 1888. Two other bells were locally recast from older bells that melted during one of several fires that seriously damaged the temple in the course of the years. (To actually hear the bells click on the Link, the "The Bell of Holy Trinity Cathedral".)

"The temple itself is illumined by a grand chandelier donated by the last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. According to tradition, the Emperor also donated a richly decorated icon of his patron saint, Nicholas of Myra and Lycia, to the Cathedral.

"There are many gorgeous old icons on the Cathedral's walls. In 1993-94, its iconostasis icons were painted in old Russian style by iconographer Dimitry Shkolnik.

"Today, as at the very beginning of its history, Holy Trinity Cathedral is a multinational, or, more accurately, an American Orthodox community, the only Orthodox church in San Francisco where the services are conducted in English (with some Slavonic). Our community is wholeheartedly open to all and any Orthodox Christians. The majority of our parishioners today are "converts" -- Christians who have been consciously searching for the true faith and have found it in the Holy Orthodox Church." (See Link.)

Photo: Top photo taken of Holy Trinity Cathedral at the corner of Van Ness
               and Green Street(1520 Green Street) in San Francisco in 2001by SW.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

                                                                                     July 10, 2011

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
La Quinta, California

"La Quinta is a resort city in Riverside County, California, USA, specifically in the Coachella Valley between Indian Wells and Indio. (Adjacent to Palm Springs.) The population was 23,694 at the 2000 census. The Robb Report credits La Quinta as the nation's leading golf destination. Among those destinations is the La Quinta Resort and Club, a resort dating to 1926...The words "la quinta" are Spanish, translating to "the fifth". More specifically, the word "quinta" is known in Mexico as a type of hacienda." (See Link 1.)

"Saint Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226)[2] was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis.[3] St. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.[3]"  ( See Link 3.)  The Prayer of St. Francis  is well known. A   variation on the prayer was delivered by Mother Theresa when she addressed the United Nations in 1985. (See Link 4.)

                                                          Sanctuary Front Altar
"Architect Ricciardi suggested... this 20,000 sq ft Romanesque basilica-type design with a seating capacity of 700 (since increased to 800).  He envisioned featuring a high ceiling, marble floor, wooden beams overhead and a long rectangular nave facing the altar... It took two years, 1982 to 1984 to build St. Francis of Assisi Church.

                                                Sanctuary Left Side Alcove Altar
                                              Sanctuary Right Side Alcove Altar
In the Sanctuary "The altar of Sacrifice, the pulpit and the baptismal font are of carrara marble and were designed by Rebechi Aeg in Italy... the Sanctuary Crucifix with figures depicting Christ and St. Francis was carved by Italian sculptor, Ivo Demetiz, from a single piece of pepper wood... The Mosaics, taking nine months to complete were created by artist Peter Ladochy of San Luis Obispo.  Each Mosaic is in the Byzantine smaltite style using marble, travertine, venetian glass and gold leaf... the fourteen Murals on the sides of the church depict the Life of St. Francis.  They are replicas of paintings by Renaissance artist, Giotto, which adorn the Mother Church in Assisi, Italy.  The late Alexander Rosenfeld of La Quinta, who was in his nineties at the time, worked nine hours per day, six days a week for almost two and one half years to complete these murals...the Stained Glass Windows were produced in Ireland. (See Reference 1.)

                       Side Mosaic Murals by Alexander Rosenfeld of La Quinta

"The Christ Chapel (in a separate building in the courtyard next to the church) contains a labyrinth carpet-a walking prayer carpet which is a replica of the labyrinth laid in stone in Chartres Cathedral in France about the year 1200...The slate floor is embedded with leaves, fossils, and grain symbolizing the sacred space grounded in earth.   There are 12 columns and 12 light sconces surrounding the chapel, with 12 being symbolic in sacred art...The beautiful chapel windows are made from genuine antique stained glass...They were designed by Brother Joseph Aspell and are done in a contemporary style.  The window depict stories from the Old and the New Testaments, but are not literal representations.

                                                                   Christ  Chapel

                                                         Christ Chapel Windows

"Outside the Chapel is a garden containing a modern statue of St. Francis by Benjamin Bufano.  The garden is embraced by Bernini-like columns which serve as the entrance to the Christ Chapel..." (See Reference 2.) 

                                           St. Francis Statue by Benjamin Bufano

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church is a well known choice for weddings.  If you visit the church as part of the celebration you might be treated  to the sights and sounds of a mariachi band in the courtyard. (See and hear Link 6.)

                                                      Mariachi Wedding Band at
                                           St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

Photos: Taken in La Quinta, California in February, 2011 by SW.
Reference 1: Pamphlet St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community

Reference 2: Pamphlet Christ Chapel and Labyrinth at St. Francis of Assisi
Link 1:,_California
Link 2:
Link 3:
Link 4:
Link 5:
Link 6: You Tube-Mariachi Wedding Band


God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Dear Sid,

Happy 100th birthday!  What a wonderful celebration for you, your family, and 100 years of friends.

We all thank God for those 100 years.  And we thank you for your friendship, guidance, and spiritual mentoring during the years we have been privileged to know you.

For me it began when you moved to Bay View and Trinity Methodist Church.  Your daughter became my dear friend and you were my MYF leader. Whenever we met since, your friendship and spiritual mentoring has continued.   Thank you for both.

Happy 100th birthday,
Suzanne (Frank) Wilson-Alan sends his congratulations, too.

Photo: Taken at Bay View United Methodist Church in 2006 by SW.
Note: For further congratulations see
            Blog post July 3, 2011.



God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)


2772 South Kinnickinnic Ave.

Bay View United Methodist Church
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"The Methodist denomination organized the first church in Bay View. (An area on the south side of the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.) It was a small wooden church built in 1868 by English immigrants on the land donated by the Milwaukee Iron Company at what today is 2471 and 2473 Wentworth Avenue. In 1887 the congregation moved to this (at 2772 South Kinnickinnic Avenue) Victorian Gothic cream city brick edifice designed by parishioner William Davelaar." (See Link 1.) 

On Sunday mornings in the 1940's and 50's the church bell door would be opened from the stair landing in the front hall and the rope would be pulled. The bell in the steeple would ring out signaling to the community that the church service at Trinity Methodist Church was beginning.

The inside of the church was unique. The sanctuary of dark wood was designed "in the round". The church chancel, altar, and communion rail were a semi-circle at the front of the sanctuary. A large array of tall organ pipes formed the backdrop for the altar.

1950's Trinity Methodist Church
Confirmation Class
(Note: Organ pipes and semi-circle wooden communion rail.)

The five aisles were arranged like spokes on a wheel. At Christmas the choirs with their candles filled these aisles, surrounding the congregation, as they sang Christmas carols. On the east side of the sanctuary tall two storey dark wood folding doors separated the sanctuary from the Sunday School area. This area also had a balcony. On special days the doors could be opened to facilitate a larger capacity in the sanctuary. Downstairs were two halls. One with a terrazzo floor and kitchen which could be used for church dinners. At Christmas in the 1950's all four choirs would sit around large rectangular tables and sing Christmas carols. Featured would be the singing of "Christmas is Coming" and the presentation of the "figgy pudding". The other room was not only used for rummage sales and square dances, but also had a stage for performances.

"After WWII, husband and wife Lillian and Willis Leenhouts designed an educational wing and remodeled the church interior, installing new stained glass windows." (See Link 2.)These renovations were completed in the early 1950's. The church sanctuary now had a traditional layout with the chancel and altar in the front backed by modern stained glass windows. The dark wood was replaced with light blond wood. A formal parlour in honor of Mabel Bullock and a small chapel were also established on the main floor of the church. Later the parlour was moved across from the doors leading to the sanctuary to facilitate morning coffee following the service. An addition was constructed on the front of the building to provide for a church office. An education wing was also added.

In 1968 the Bethel Evangelical Church congregation merged with the Trinity Methodist Church congregation to become Bay View United Methodist Church. Bethel Evangelical Church was built in 1897 at 2392 So. Woodward St. In 1968 it was sold to the Assembly of God for $40,000. That congregation outgrew the building and again sold it in 2001.

Photo: Top photo taken in 2006 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:
Note: Suzanne Wilson attended this church as a child.


Sid Carter
(Taken by SW in 2006 at Bay View United Methodist Church.)
Sid Carter has been a member of Trinity United Methodist Church for 60 years.
Today he will be celebrating his 100 birthday with family and friends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Happy 100th Birthday, Sid!