Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Church Project Lite

So I'm too lazy/too overwhelmed/too tired, or just too something indefinable to carry out the Church Project the way I originally intended to. So...
So, what I'll do is just get googlemap shots and the occasional old timey picture of the North Shore churches and some information about them.
I'll do it by denomination, starting with my home court, the Lutheran churches.


Trinity Evangelical Lutheran - 309 Saint Pauls Ave - Stapleton

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My old church and elementary school. Founded by Germans back in the nineteenth century, Trinity really took off in the early twentieth century under the stewardship of Pastor Fredrick Sutter. In the google picture you can see the damage to the steeple caused by the tornado that ravaged the North Shore 2 years ago.

Zion Lutheran - 505 Watchogue Road, Westerleigh

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The group that founded Zion Lutheran started as an adult Norwegian Sunday school class in a no longer standing building in Port Richmond. At some point they collected enough money and built a beautiful neo-Gothic church on Bennett Street alongside Port Richmond Park. In the sixties they relocated to Westerleigh and built the kind of ugly modern church they still occupy on Watchogue and Willowbrook Roads.

I started with Trinity and Zion because they represent the two most active and vibrant Lutheran congregations remaining on Staten Island. They also still have a strong sense of their initial ethnic origins. Trinity was still holding German services in the early eighties.

They also represent two distinct wings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Trinity came from money (particularly the Stapleton beer barons of the nineteenth century) and Zion from working class poverty. Today Trinity maintains a much more ritual filled worship service and Zion's is more stripped down.

The great wave of Lutheranism that once represented Germans, Norwegians and Swedes in numerous churches has receded with the demographic changes across the Island as well as the general collapse of the mainline denominations.

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