Place and History: The Fascinating Story of Those Who Came Before Us

ST VINCENT 1-6-12-20
Last week I began a discussion on Our Next Campus Building & A Theology of Buildings. In the coming weeks I want to initiate discussion about the former St. Vincent’s Church, and about the importance of thinking through building design, decoration and all the things that go into transforming a building into a house of congregational worship.

But a building is more than bricks and mortar, glass and stone. It’s important to remember you’re walking in the steps of people who came before you. History is a big part of place.

Last year we asked Sojourn member Jason Fuchs to research the history of St. Vincent’s. And did he ever. Now we have a fascinating three page document on the birth and life of this building and its people, before it shut down in 1996.

  • Did you know that the first sermons at St. Vincent’s were given in German, because most of the parishioners were immigrants from Germany?
  • Did you know that a time capsule from 1886 sits within the cornerstone of this building? It contains “clippings from the Courier-Journal and the Daily Anzeiger, a local German paper, as well as coins from the 1850’s and a document listing the names of the trustees of the parish.”
  • Did you know that in the Roaring ’20s, nearly 1000 families worshiped weekly in this building, almost all of whom lived right there in the Shelby Park neighborhood?

Take a few minutes to read this document here. You won’t be disappointed.

On a regular basis, I hear from Shelby Park and Germantown residents who say “I used to worship in that building,” or “I remember when The 930 was a school — my siblings and I all went there.” I love hearing about these experiences.

What kinds of feelings does this document stir within you?

Do you know anything else about the history of the St. Vincent’s building?

St. Vincent’s restoration photo by Sojourn deacon Chuck Heeke

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4 Responses to “Place and History: The Fascinating Story of Those Who Came Before Us”

  1. Haley March 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing! So interesting!

  2. laura grace March 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    This is SO interesting. Thanks Daniel and thanks Jason!! :)

  3. Chuck Heeke March 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Thank you so much for this research and sharing the history of this place. As a little footnote to the story, just a few minutes after the picture above was taken, I proposed to my fiancé in St. Vincent’s and our hope is to be married there as well. I chose the spot as reminder of how Christ is moving, working, and renovating hearts (and even buildings) in this city just like He is moving, working, and renovating our hearts and our life together. I pray that it will be a tangible sign of our connection to God’s bigger story that our family can reflect on for generations to come.

  4. Will Ouyang November 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    hummmm…..I missed the opening day due to a flight delay and bad weather way back when. Then heard about this history paper from the others in the body of Christ. (took me a while to find it)

    I think it’s a fascinating picture of renewal and I sure hope it can be that shining beacon of life & light to the surrounding community.

    I wonder though….does Christian History Magazine take article submissions? If we can only hope to get this story out, maybe it would inspire others deep in the heart of other old and dying cities. Dream the impossible dreams, pray for a growth that will far outlast the mere breath that is our lives on this earth.

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