End of the Line for Harlem Church

January 18, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

The structure on 125th Street dates from 1927, and back then it was a movie theater. Nearly 50 years later, the LaGree Baptist Church moved in. An established congregation, LaGree had been in other neighborhood locations over a number of years. The old theater was readily adapted with theater seats replacing pews and the stage area converted to a pulpit area. The adaptive reuse served the church ... Read More

Adaptive Re-use / New York City / Church Demolition

Wedding Flowers An Ancient Tradition

January 16, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

It started with symbolism and smells. Some of the earliest references to the wedding bouquet come from ancient Greece and Rome where brides and grooms were draped in garlands. That’s the same way that victorious Olympians were celebrated. Wedding garlands were worn as symbols of fertility and good luck.   Other cultures contribute their own traditions. Wearing aromatic herbs was thought to be a ... Read More

Sacred Symbols

Skyscraper Temple For Krishna Planned

January 11, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

“Let the world see the magnificence of Indian culture and heritage.” That’s the last line in a promotional video for the skyscraper temple now in the planning stage. The location in the Northern Inda Braj region is associated traditionally with Krishna. So it makes sense that this audacious enterprise would be devoted to the Lord Krishna. Once completed, this towering temple will be, according to ... Read More

Holy Place / Temples

Altar Cloth Traced To Queen Elizabeth’s Fashion

January 08, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

The tradition of covering an altar with a special cloth goes back centuries. In September, I blogged about the importance of altar linens, and how the tradition began as early as the 4th Century. This past year, perhaps one of the most unique and important historic altar cloths was discovered. Curators had suspected it came from a garment once worn by Queen Elizabeth I, famous for her long and ... Read More

Worship Space / Liturgical Arts

Church Signs - Resourceful and Sometimes Funny

January 04, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

If there’s one thing I’ve observed, church folks are pretty resourceful. Faced with challenges or unusual issues, they improvise solutions and make things happen. And that often includes some very unique signs. I’ve blogged about this previously, but since then, I’ve found even better examples of creative church signs. I’m sharing some of the best examples of signs I’ve come across in the past ... Read More

Sacred Symbols

365 Challenge: Lessons Learned and What Comes Next

January 01, 2017 by: Ben Heimsath

It’s going to take a while to review a year’s worth of blogposts, but it’s already pretty clear that several themes deserve more exploration. For 2017, I’m continuing the blog, though changing the pace. I’d like to go deeper into topics that deserve further study. So I’ll post twice a week this year. My deadlines will shift to Wednesday and Sunday.   I’ll still be focused on spiritual phenomena - ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial / Religious

Celebrating the Details - 365th Blogpost!

December 31, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

When I took up the 365 Challenge, I began with few expectations. My goal was simply to take in what was around me. In the course of the year, that simple goal has been more than achieved. The need to meet a daily deadline has forced me to engage more fully in the wonderment around me. I’m more aware of the remarkably creative ways people of all faiths, and of no faith, find amazing ways to ... Read More

Religious

Combing Through a Year’s Offerings

December 30, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

When I committed this year to a blog post every day I quickly realized that many early ideas or images might not make the cut. Some days offered a wealth of opportunities. I’d pick one topic with the thought of coming back later for another, though that didn’t always happen. At other times a good idea took a back seat to something more urgent. Writing about responses to tragic events I often ... Read More

Worship Spaces

Gallup Poll Shows Faith Over Affiliation

December 29, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

In 2016, this blog followed several significant polls tracking Americans and religion. Though if there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it is to be skeptical of polls! But precise data counts aren’t the reason to follow religious polls. The US Census doesn’t track anything having to do with religion, so there is not a lot of data available. The importance of these religious polls is their ... Read More

Religious

Roadside Memorial in Clear Lake Area Revisited

December 28, 2016 by: Ben Heimsath

The end of the year approaches and of course I’m looking back at this year of blogging. The idea of writing about objects or spaces associated with faith, religion, or spirituality came spontaneously last December 31. A book my wife had ordered was delivered moments before we jumped in the car to drive to the country for New Years. The book, the 365 Journal, by artist and author Noah Scalin is ... Read More

Suddenly Sacred / Memorial