Time for Church!

I’m fascinated by churches, especially their design. Sometimes they’re simple, almost stark, other times elaborate.

If I have my camera and can stop, I’ll take photos or I’ll get my camera and return later.

Whatever their design, however, churches inspire reverence.

The Parish of St. Agnes Cathedral
St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockvile Center, NY

As I waited at the Rockville Center station for the train to Long Island a few years ago, I saw this church in the distance. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked but I couldn’t get close enough without missing my train. Interestingly, the first mass was celebrated in a blacksmith’s shop with an anvil serving as the altar. St. Agnes has come a long way since then, hosting Mother Theresa in 1986.

Ephesus Church
Ephesus Seventh-Day Adventist, New York

I used to stand on the corner opposite Ephesus in Harlem and stare up at the steeple. At 37 stories, it seems as if it could touch the sky. After doing that on several different occasions, I went back specifically to take a photo of it.

A fire in 1969, damaged the original steeple. It was replaced 35 years later with a new one which weights 7,000 pounds.

The Second Reformed, Hackensack, NJ
Second Reformed Church, Hackensack, NJ

I spotted this church on a side street in Hackensack, NJ. It wasn’t the one I set out to photograph but I liked the quiet elegant look of it. Researching it later, I discovered that the stained glass windows in the sanctuary were designed by Tiffany.

Capuchin Monastery Church of St. John
Capuchin Monastery, NY

I’m not sure how many times I walked pass this monastery near Penn Station, New York before I noticed the sign. Except for the statue, little else about the building says religion.

When I got home, I Googled the name and discovered that the Capucin Monastery Church of St. John is an Order of Friars that arose in 1520. It is part of the Catholic church.

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.


28 comments on “Time for Church!

  1. It is amazing the things we discover when researching posts isn’t it. I find things out about photos I have taken years previously and never knew at the time. The last photo does not look at all churchy 🙂

  2. I love churches too. Of course Europe has churches galore, but the Spanish Caribbean also has many beautiful churches. I especially like your photo of the Second Reformed Church in Jersey – I really like the door.

  3. On my recent visit to Nova Scotia I couldn’t help but notice all the beautiful small churches dotting the countryside – though most were a simple white with black trim – and always pleasing to the eye.

  4. Hi Marcia,
    What a nice collection of church photos. You’re so right, churches have the most beautiful architecture and their design alone is worth the reverence. I only took notice of the Capuchin Monastery of St. John the Baptist myself about two years ago when I attended a memorial service. It looks very unconventional from the outside but it looks very traditional inside. The Harlem church looks magnificent. I don’t think I have seen it. Have you been to Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam & 112th? That one is spectacular.

  5. Hello, I’m really struck by the anvil serving as an alter… what a powerful image. I do love churches too, the house Ilived in as a girl is next door to a church, not an old or beautiful one, but I liked the sense of peace it emanated. I lived in Genoa for a year in a tiny ancient piazza with an old church there, so tranquil and full of history.

  6. I enjoy visiting churches too – whatever the faith that is followed there. Amazing histories and I always come away with a feeling of calm.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog the other day. Have a wonderful week.

  7. 37 stories. That’s a lotta church. Some of the old churches look spooky to me. I’d be afraid of the 37-story one. Interesting histories behind these structures though.

  8. Marcia, I love churches too. I agree that they inspire reverence. When I travel, I often will attend a worship service wherever I find myself. In Sedona Arizona last year, we went to a Unitarian service with a stunning view and a friendly pianist who turned out to be a nature photographer. We visited her at her gallery the next day and bought two pieces of her work that are now in my living room, where I\’m writing. That evening we brought a picnic dinner over to her place to share with her and her husband. It was the best evening of our trip. All on account of a church. They can be wonderful places, especially for travelers like you and me. Good to meet you, Marcia, and thanks for your visit and comment at Diamond-Cut Life.

  9. Another trait we share Marcia. I love visiting and photographing churches. My imagination always soars thinking about the stories held within their walls.

  10. I agree. I love churches…especially the churches w/ lots of gorgeous stained glass and history.

    I also love walking inside…allowing the silence and prayer to wash over me.

    Nice Photos! 🙂

  11. I love churches too – taking pictures of them and going inside to admire the architecture. This is a great collection of NY/NJ churches. I admit I’ve only been to St Patricks in NYC so it was great to see these other ones. St. Agnes Cathedral looks like it came from a European skyline.

  12. St. Pat’s an outstanding church, Mary. New York’s full of amazing churches, each one has its own charm.
    Glad I was able to show you St. Agnes – it does have a European feel.

  13. Hey Marisol, yes I’ve been to St. John, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera as I went there for church.
    It’s a spectacular edifice. I think I did a post on it sometime ago.
    Next time I’m near Penn, I’ll definitely go inside the monastery. The day I took the pic, I was rushing to catch the train.

  14. I was, too, Seana. It really makes you think of how generations before strived to do simple things, like worship.
    Until you mentioned it, I never thought about what it must be like living near a church. I can just feel that feeling of peace and tranquility.

  15. I agree Jill. It doesn’t matter what faith is followed, one thing is certain — the feeling of peace that is there.
    You’re welcome. Thanks for the visit here too. Wish you a great week.

  16. Oh, what a lovely encounter, Alison! I’m sure you made a lasting friendship. It’s interesting how sometimes you meet people and just click.
    This really is a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it and thanks for the return visit. Good to meet you too!

  17. So true, Jackie! And yes, I see we’ve been to the same restaurant.
    Churches elicit very interesting emotions, I hadn’t even thought of the stories and the intrigue.

  18. I agree – whenever I see a church I start looking for the story, but unfortunately most young travelers I know do not share the fascination.

  19. The church that I attended growing up was very contemporary and, even though it had stained glass windows, I always wished for something a little “churchier.” (Not very religious of me, I know.) That being said, I am very taken by the idea of having an anvil serve as an altar. Your story about the unexpected church in Hackensack having Tiffany windows is also interesting. I guess you never know what you’ll find when out exploring with a camera.

  20. Churches are always interesting to browse. I especially like older ones. Not very old, necessarily, but from before the church-in-shopping-mall era.

  21. I doubt I’ve seen a church in a shopping mall. Those would be quite nondescript and cold, I’m sure.
    The older ones, though, they have energy and character. Definitely more interesting.

  22. I don’t like contemporary churches either, Michele. They always feel sterile and not welcoming at all.
    There are many interesting stories around the corner and across the street that are waiting to be discovered.

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