Sacred Places Winter 2019 - Page 15

New Chapter for a Modern Landmark in the Heartland by Joshua Castaño Director of Community Engagement Services, Partners for Sacred Places and Chad Martin Director, National Fund for Sacred Places F ew churches can match the importance of St. Paul’s United Methodist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the history of American architecture and religious education. It is a landmark on the American prairie, reflecting a beautiful and unique blend of congregational vision and architectural genius. And now it is a participant in the National Fund for Sacred Places. In 1913, when this fast-growing congregation needed more space for education, ministry, and outreach to the community, it gave architects in the Midwest an opportunity to design a new facility that reflected its “seven-day a week” approach to ministry. The new facility would need to express the congregation’s “muscular Christianity,” a hard-working, civic-minded and energetic form of religious faith that was active in the life of the community. None of the designs was satisfactory, save that offered by Louis Sullivan (1856-1924) the visionary designer who has St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Photo: L.J. Schneekloth Photography SACRED PLACES • WINTER 2019 15 15