We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Wreckers (or, Recent History)

Formerly known as the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Saviour, it was built in 1855, renovated in 1898, and rebuilt after an April 16, 1902 fire. In 1992 it became the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Original. OK, it is a bit dark but, um, ... new lighting?

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Re-pitched. An academic exercise that was no respecter of the feelings of persons or the history of place.

A highly-controversial renovation of the interior was undertaken, 2000-2002, under then-cathedral dean Richard Giles, author of Re-Pitching the Tent: Re-Ordering the Church Building for Worship and Mission. The pews, altar, and other church furniture were removed and sold. Chairs and modern lighting fixtures replaced the traditional fixtures. The stone walls were stuccoed over and whitewashed. The baptismal font was joined by an immersion pool for adults. These actions divided the congregation and were severely criticized in the press.

I'll just keep looking for a small nook somewhere -- if it hasn't been ripped out, renovated, shuttered, or otherwise foreclosed.

So much for the best laid plans ... of men: This Church, although so costly, is entirely free from debt, and is not owned by the Corporation, so that it can never be sold or made subject to mortgage or other lien by the Vestry, but is held in trust forever by The Trustees of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, who have no power to lien or sell it.


1 comment:

  1. I saw it before the big change. What makes it sadder is Dean Giles knew better. From an Anglo-Catholic background 50 years ago, he knew how to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Once, at St. Clement's, I saw him do so.