Friday, March 14, 2008

Then & Now, Church of the Holy Communion...One of 1000 Churches

below: an undated early photo of Holy Communion, courtesy of their website...
...and this beautiful church as it looks today...

Memphis is often called "The City of 1000 Churches" or the "City of Churches". There are many beautiful places of worship in Memphis, and one of those is Church of the Holy Communion, Episcopal.
As I am going to be offline through Easter, I thought that I would share one of my favorite churches in Memphis in honor of Easter. This lovely church sits on the corner of two well-traveled streets, Walnut Grove Road and Perkins, and is a beautiful church on a wonderful elevation.
One funny thing we noticed after I had taken these photos is how similar in architecture this church is to one that I shared here a few weeks ago, Evergreen Presbyterian. If Holy Communion weren't on a hill, you'd think I just took photos of the same church from different angles, wouldn't you?
I found this passage about the church's history on their website, and it describes their beginnings much better than I could:
"The first service was held in the new chapel on Jan. 1, 1939. By 1947, Crump says attendance had grown to the extent that the Rev. Dr. Theodore N. Barth, who became Calvary’s Rector in 1940, suggested the building of a church and parish house.
“Some Sundays we had 150 people in that chapel,” Crump said. “We were meeting in station wagons and what have you.”
When the money raised among Calvary members didn’t quite cover the cost of both the church and the building that would become Blaisdell, Barth made a decision that went against the custom of the day.
“The question was, what do we build first,” Crump said.
Instead of building an education wing first, which Crump said was typical of church expansion plans at the time, Barth insisted on building the church first, even ruling against the idea of reducing the height of the planned steeple, which represented about a fourth of the $205,000 proposed cost.
“He said ‘No, we’re going to build that steeple,’” Crump said. “That ended the discussion.”
Ground was broken for the new building on Oct. 24, 1948 and Evening Prayer was held for the first time in the new house of worship on Jan.1, 1950. Church of the Holy Communion was admitted to Parish status in the Diocese of Tennessee on Jan. 24, 1951.
Today, Holy Communion is among the largest and strongest parishes in the Diocese of West Tennessee. And the parish’s focus on worship – from Sunday Eucharist to daily Morning Prayer to Celtic and Taize worship to the “Open For Prayer” banner displayed on Sept. 11 – can be viewed as part of a tradition started more than 50 years ago.
“It made a statement on that corner,” Crump said of the insistence on building a church building first. “The church and the steeple made a statement – and they still do
.”
I hope that you enjoyed seeing one of my favorite churches in Memphis, and that you will have a wonderful week ahead. I'll look forward to catching up with each of you when I'm back online!

All colored bold script should provide a clickable link for more information. Please click on the photo to see an enlarged version.

14 comments:

Jana said...

Great history! That is a beautiful church!

Steve Buser said...

Loved the story and hill top shot.

Rambling Round said...

Wonderful steeple!

Clueless in boston said...

Beautiful church. How appropriate to end with a church before Easter. Have a great break and keep taking pictures.

brian said...

It's a very impressive building, and nice photo! Have a wonderful Easter break!

Annie said...

Have a lovely Spring break. Isn't it the most wonderful time of year for a little holiday?

Fénix - Bostonscapes said...

Lovely church and so similar to the ones we have up here :). Have a lovely time off, SH.

oldmanlincoln said...

The church wears its age very well. It remains beautiful on the outside. The inside might be something else.

Dan said...

I love your photojournalism approach on your blog just as much as I love learning the history of a place. I have been toying with the idea of church series, just to develop my architectural photography skills.

Also, thanks for missing me. Work gets in the way of a lot of stuff I would rather be doing!

Sonia said...

Lovely church and interesting history!

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

I like the look of this one.

George Townboy said...

This is very nice!

Have a wonderful Easter!

Halcyon said...

Nice church. Once again, surprising to see it has not changed much.

Dusty Lens said...

I enjoy this classic style of church. Wishing you a happy Easter break.