Home > All Is Well (TM), Appetizers, Art > DWM: This is the way the cathedral ends, not with a bang, and not with a whimper, but perhaps with a touch of ambivalence

DWM: This is the way the cathedral ends, not with a bang, and not with a whimper, but perhaps with a touch of ambivalence

16 March 2010

 I have on occasion traveled to and from West Michigan.  Over the last couple of years, I have noticed the Episcopal ‘castle’ at the junction of US Route-131 and I-94, just outside of Kalamazoo, has changed somewhat.  Gone is the obligatory, “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!” sign, and in its place is what appears to be advertising for  a thriving evangelical congregation.  Now, I don’t know if they’re the real deal, or some Johnnie-Come-Latelys (haven’t looked at them at all), but the fact stands that they are now the proud owners of not a half bad piece of parish property.   

I think though, that they’re not nuts about the architecture.  I think you’ll see why too, if you look at these pictures I took during my recent trip that took me past the Diocese of Western Michigan’s former cathedral.  I took these on a Samsung SL40 (12.2 Megapixel) digital camera.  Not a bad little camera, but on the day I took these, the West Michigan weather “wasn’t cooperating,” which is another way of saying that it was a typical West Michigan day.  🙂 

[By the way – you can get a better look at these pictures by left-clicking on any of them with your mouse.  ] 

Here is a picture of the original cathedral building: 

The Original DWM Cathedral Building

The new owners have added a second building.  Presumably, the original building is used for worship, and the new one is used for other church activities  (I haven’t been inside, however, so I am not sure).  Here is a picture of the South Gate, from the street that is closest to I-94: 

Driver's-Eye-View of South Gate

 Here are both buildings, as viewed from the South Gate: 

"Panoramic" View

This next picture illustrates what I mean by the apparent ambivalence.  There is a “vanishing spire” effect, beginning at the left hand side of the new building (closest to the old building) and fully emerging on the right hand side of the new building.  I’ve illustrated how the spire cross-sections are changing, left to right, on the new building, in this final photograph.  

The Vanishing Spire

So, at the left-hand-side of the new building (i.e., closest to the cathedral building) the new spire conforms to the spires on the cathedral (one side of a square).  In the middle of the new building, they take on a new shape (two opposite sides on a square).  At the right hand side of the new building, the spire feature is fully a square, and technically no longer a spire.  But, the right-most spire fits the style of the new building. 
This suggests that the new owners (God bless ’em) didn’t quite cotton to the architectural style of the DWM Episcopal Cathedral.  Frankly, it looks like they wanted a contemporary style all around, but realized that they had to live with the old building.. and therefore needed a way to blend the disparate styles.  

Yeh.  It doesn’t look like the new congregation likes the cathedral’s architecture, all that well.  Hard to blend into their contemporary taste, and hard to justify tearing down the old building simply over a matter of taste.   

(sigh)  Oh well..  I can’t say I’ve appreciated the cathedral’s architecture, either.  It’s always struck me as being a bit pretentious, for that part of Michigan.  Maybe it would have looked better, I dunno, as a shopping mall or something, over in Bloomfield Hills.  😉  

At any rate, I hope the new owners have learned from the mistakes of the wicked servant, lest they suffer the same fate.  If they have learned from others mistakes, then I wish them nothing but the best.  

And if they haven’t;  Ichabod.  

– Elder  

PS – Yeah, there is some interesting historical background to this building, which I’d like to cover that in another article.

PPS – We know that our own DSO cathedral could never ever in a million years suffer such a fate, since we’ve got the Proctor Fund.  Also, we get along with one another very well down here in Southern Ohio. 

So, don’t worry, Oysters – All Is Well ! 😉

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  1. carl
    16 March 2010 at 5:10 AM

    The congregation that bought this architectural monstrosity is (or at least it was as of a couple years ago) a prosperity Gospel church. At the time of the purchase, I spent some time mucking around on their website. There were a few slides in a sermon power point presentation that produced enough smoke to raise concerns. So I listened to the sermon that went with the slides. And there was the pastor talking about how he had been fired from his last church for preaching the prosperity gospel.

    You can’t always trust numbers. Non-Christian religions and Christian counterfeits can also grow and flourish. Just take a look at Joel Osteen.

    carl

  2. Elder Oyster
    16 March 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Hi Carl,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    It sure sounds like yet another good follow-up article. At this point, it seems to me that the ratio of effort-to-relevance is a bit steep to justify one or (more likely) more articles. Not that it isn’t relevant at all, just (let’s put it this way) less relevant for this blog.

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