Sacred Places Summer 2022 - Page 4

Awe and Inspiration

Awe and Inspiration

Over the last 20 years , Partners ’ work has increasingly emphasized the community value of sacred places , and how they can be shared and reimagined in ways that benefit neighbors and people in need . But we shouldn ’ t lose sight of another facet of sacred places that brings great value to members and non-members alike : their architectural , artistic and cultural value .

Sacred places say so much about the values , priorities and aesthetic sensibilities of congregations — and the society in which they do their work — over the years . A Methodist church in 1890 might include a sanctuary shaped like a theater , which made the pulpit — and the preaching — the focal point of those who gathered there . Likewise , an Episcopal church built in 1910 in the latest style might reflect prominent architect Ralph Adam Cram ’ s deep devotion to Medieval English Gothic precedents .
Our sacred places are embarrassments of riches — filled with artistic treasures and beautiful spaces that can prompt awe , inspiration and meditation . A simple meetinghouse might be dominated by the sunlight that comes through squares of clear glass , while a late-nineteenth century church or synagogue might be richly embellished with murals and stained glass made by some of the greatest artists and artisans of the day . It is easy to forget that Louis Comfort Tiffany , John LaFarge , Henri Matisse , Marc Chagall , Hildreth Meière , Constantino Brumidi and many other great artists have filled our sacred places with some of their best work .
The form and enrichment of our sacred places say something powerful and eloquent about the people who settled in America in our early years , and those who later migrated from South to North , or immigrated here in search of freedom and opportunity .
One article in this issue , the first of a two-part piece by Dr . Christopher S . Hunter , addresses the roots and early influences on churches erected by African American congregations — buildings which bring enormous cultural , artistic and architectural value to our communities .
Other important participants in creating and enriching sacred places are folk artists , who learned their art by observing and learning from the work of other artists . Their carved wood furnishings , their mural paintings , their wrought iron and stained glass , express ancient traditions that are passed down from one generation to another .
This issue includes an article which focuses on the folk art commissioned by Nordic churches in the Upper Midwest , and reminds us that folk art , whether old or new , can be a powerful tool to help sacred places connect with — and gain support from — their communities . We have been proud to encourage this work , with support from Margaret A . Cargill Philanthropies , and we are grateful to Emily Sajdak , our Senior Project Manager , for managing and supporting these projects so well over the last several years .
Chris Kendig
A . Robert Jaeger , President
Joshua Castaño , Director of Special Initiatives Karen DiLossi , Director of Strategic Partnerships Bridget Fidler , Senior Director of Consulting Nancy Finegood , Consultant Gianfranco Grande , Executive Vice President Rachel Hildebrandt , Director , National Fund for
Sacred Places Blair Horton , Project Coordinator Sarah Lyn Jones , Associate Director of Community
Engagement Simon Kaufman , Director of Development Craig Nowlin , Chief Operating Officer Gwen Richards , Consultant Tiara Richardson , Office Manager Owen Robbins , Special Project & Design Associate Emily Sajdak , Senior Project Manager Rochelle Stackhouse , Senior Director of Programs Geraldine Wang , Senior Fellow , Strategic
Michael J . Crosbie , FAIA , Editorial Content Manager
The Rev . Katherine Glaze Lyle , Chair
Ms . Barbara Abrajano Rabbi Michael Balinsky The Rt . Rev . Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows Mr . Rob Berard Mrs . David B . Butler Charles B . Casper , Esq . Mr . Mark Constantine Ms . Jennifer Correia The Rev . Peter D . D ’ Angio Mr . Marsh Davis Paul Edmondson , Esq . Mr . Marco Federico Sheffield Hale , Esq . Jorge L . Hernandez , AIA Lynn Hunt Gray , Esq ., Secretary Mr . G . Edward Hughes Ms . Rosa Lowinger Most Rev . Denis J . Madden Mr . James B . Straw The Rev . David W . Watkins , III Robin E . Whitehurst , AIA , Vice Chair and Treasurer
1700 Sansom Street , 10th Floor Philadelphia , PA 19103 Partners @ sacredplaces . org www . sacredplaces . org 215.567.3234