I'm not at all religious, but in recent years I've come to really appreciate churches for their beauty.
As a kid, I went to church school at a few different houses of worship: the First Church of Christ in my hometown, Simsbury, Connecticut, and the Unitarian Church of Hartford, which is hands-down one of the oddest looking churches you'll ever see. Check it out.
My parents eventually made the move from the latter church to the Universalist Church of West Hartford. There, I was in the youth group through 8th grade. I can't say I particularly enjoyed church school or the youth group, or learned any lifelong lessons, although I think I turned out alright. The best part of the youth group was a pretty girl named Johnny, who was really nice, and who, on a car ride back from the group's visit to the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, had to sit on my lap. I think she was supposed to be in the second car, but ended up with me and a bunch of other boys. I was the envy of the other kids on that day, if not on any others.
For quite some time now, I've found myself drawn to churches. The buildings, not the teachings. I love the tall, gleaming spires, the clock towers and the statues. I appreciate both grand edifices and intimate chapels.
I decided recently to expand my photographic horizons beyond cute pictures of my kids and not-so-cute shots of collapsing buildings and abandoned railroad tracks, and begin documenting churches that catch my eye.
Below are the first two photos, with some information about the buildings. Look for more shots here on occasion.
The Parish of St. Paul, Newton Highlands, Mass.
From the Parish of St. Paul web site:
"On the first day of May, 1883, ground was broken for a chapel at the corner of Walnut Street and Lake Avenue. On Thursday, July 19, 1883, an opening service was held in the new chapel. Cost of the chapel was $4,100, including the land, and the new parish began life with a mortgage for $1,500.
"In 1888, the parish purchased the land on which the present church is located for the construction of the first rectory. Within the next decade, additions were made to the chapel and an organ fund started. But the growing parish had outgrown the chapel by the turn of the century.
"In 1902, the rectory was moved to Columbus Street and the chapel was rolled across Walnut Street on logs to where the church stands today. The chancel was enlarged, and the left transept was built to provide a connection to the proposed parish house. The first service in the new church was held on Sunday, October 12, 1902."
First Church in Belmont, Belmont, Mass.
From The First Church in Belmont web site:
"The church building, erected near today’s post office, was dedicated on October 28, 1857. The Town was then founded in 1859, and the church spire can be seen in the Belmont Town Seal. In 1890, a new stone-based church church was nearly complete across the street when the original burned. The bell tower contains the official town clock."