The Franciscan Church
of the Assumption
On August 5, 2012, Chris and I wrote a post about the Shrine and Museum of Saint Marianne Cope (you can find it here). I won’t re-tell the story about what she did that is so famous (you will have to go back to the original post and read about it!) but I will tell you that she was officially canonized, making her a saint on October 21, 2012 and yes, we got a little ahead of ourselves by calling her a saint in August. But anyways, when we were at the Shrine of Saint Marianne Cope in Syracuse, New York, we met a member of the laity to the existing Franciscan convent named Jean Anne. Jean Anne explained to us then that the church of the Franciscans, known as the Franciscan Church of the Assumption, was just around the corner and that we should definitely check it out. After we left the Shrine, Chris and I actually did go drive by the Franciscan Church but due to it being late in the day and simply being tired, Chris and I took a rain check.
Almost a year later, Chris and I made plans to return to the Syracuse area during the New York Landmarks Conservancy Sacred Sites program in order to see what Chris wrote about last week (found here). We originally did not even plan on going to see the Franciscan Church of the Assumption because we felt like we may not be able to do it justice since we felt like we had a busy day. Plus, we also learned that the Franciscan Church was not even participating in the Sacred Sites program. However, not to be put off by Chris feeling “too busy” or by the lack of participation in the Sacred Sites program, I called ahead and after several phone calls back and forth, I was able to schedule us an exclusive tour of the place when it is not usually open. Read more
Categories: #SYR, Roman Catholic
Tags: #SYR, Apostle, Baptistry, Central New York, Franciscan, Franciscan Church of the Assumption, Grotto Church, North Syracuse, Saint Marianne Cope, Syracuse
St. Adalbert’s Basilica
A little less than a year ago, Chris and I had plans to go make the day of it in Buffalo, New York and to tour St. Adalbert’s Basilica, amongst other places. I had previously randomly posted a message to St. Adalbert’s Facebook page asking if they ever gave tours and much to my surprise, Charles responded to my request. After going back and forth a bit, everything was settled and we were scheduled to go some weekend at the end of August 2012…then my baby daughter was born. Even though Chris and I go to great lengths sometimes to see specific places, even I draw that line that being there for the birth of my daughter was a little more important that seeing an old church.
Categories: #BUF, Roman Catholic
Tags: basilica, black madonna, Buffalo NY, Burned Over District, Polish, polonia, Roman Catholic, st. adalberts basilica, Upstate NY, vatican
Bristol Hill Congregational United Church of Christ
Chris and I get all sorts of excited when we learn of a new place to see or possibly a free tour of some giant ball of yarn. We consider it a win win if we learn of a free church tour because then we just look to see what else there is to see around the church and go and make a day of it. Believe it or not, we do learn of free church tours every so often, but it is a rare gift when an entire county opens its doors for free tours. This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago in Oswego County, but let me explain a bit. Not every single place in the county was open for a free tour; instead a list of designated places was available for tours and was spread across several small towns within the county. Chris had called a representative from Oswego County and had the list mailed to us several weeks in advance and we narrowed down our list of things to see to make it more manageable. The one site that stood out more than any other was the Bristol Hill Congregational United Church of Christ (hereby referred to as Bristol Hill Church for short), located in the small Town of Volney, NY.
Tags: Church, CNY, explore, Federal style church, James Seward, Oswego County, religious, Slavery, The Burned Over District, Underground Railroad, Upstate NY, Volney NY
The Episcopal Church of
St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene
This past February, the Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene celebrated the 25th year anniversary of their merger. However, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church had its origins the year Rochesterville, New York was incorporated as a village in 1817 (and was known then as St. Luke’s Church, Genesee Falls). A little over a hundred years later in 1921, the congregation of St. Simon of Cyrene was formed and was the first African American Episcopal Church in the City of Rochester, New York, and in 1934, their new church was erected on Oregon Street. However, after both churches suffered years of falling attendance, the historically white St. Luke’ s Episcopal Church and the historically black St. Simon of Cyrene Episcopal Church decided to both overcome their own prejudices and perceptions about the other and it was agreed to merge, with St. Simon of Cyrene closing its doors on Oregon Street and moving to their new home in the existing St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 17 South Fitzhugh Street. While some of St. Simon’s congregation ended up leaving due to being unhappy about the merger, approximately 60 percent of the black congregation came to their new home, and quickly outnumbered the existing white population. The first service of the combined congregations took place in January 1988. While the official name is known as the Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene, the church is colloquially referred to as the ‘Two Saints’ Church. Read more
Categories: #ROC, Episcopal
Tags: #ROC, Bishop Hobart, bomb shelter, Episcopal, Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene, high church, low church, Nathaniel Rochester, Rochester England, St. Luke, St. Luke's Church, St. Simon of Cyrene, St. Simon of Cyrene Church, Two Saints
Christ Church Unity
Back in mid-November 2012, Chris and I toured the First Church of Christ, Scientist on the corner of East Avenue and Prince Street, where we met five very cool Christian Scientists (if you haven’t read this post, you can find it here). One of the things we did not include in that post is that as we were leaving, one of them recommended to us that we travel a bit further down Prince Street and visit the folks at the ‘Unity Church.’ Wanting to know more, we inquired what the place was and it was explained to us that the Unity Church is “kind of like a cousin” to the Christian Scientists. We expressed our gratitude for the tip and as we proceeded to drive away, we drove down the street to see the place they were talking about. There, at 55 Prince Street, almost across the street from the local Red Cross office and tucked in the shadow of the Rochester Auditorium Theatre is a small church officially called Christ Church Unity.
It’s here that I should probably share that Christ Church Unity is the only church in Rochester of the Unity religion (although there is a Unity study group in Henrietta, NY). Yes, there is a religion called Unity and I was shocked to learn just how big it actually is. The Unity religion is often grouped into what is known as New Thought, or the New Thought Movement, so keep reading to learn more about this. Now as you may have surmised, four months have gone by since we were first given this lead, but back in January 2013 is when I first reached out to Christ Church Unity via email and much to my pleasant surprise, Reverend Eleanor Celentani wrote me back. Reverend Celentani informed me that she was very open to having Chris and I come for a tour but it would have to be several weeks out, which we were agreeable to. In the meantime, Reverend Celentani became quite a fan of our blog and just like the Christian Scientists referred us to her, Reverend Celentani has also given us many new ideas of places to visit that our readers will soon read about over the next few months. Read more
Categories: #ROC, New Thought
Tags: #ROC, Charles Fillmore, Christ Church Unity, Christian Science, Emma Curtis Hopkins, Mary Baker Eddy, Myrtle Fillmore, New Thought, New Thought Movement, Unity, Unity Church
First Universalist Church of Rochester
Having heard that a popular and celebrated minister of Universalism was passing through their home town of Rochester, New York, members of the First Universalist Church saw an opportunity and kidnapped this clergyman as their own… Okay, maybe this didn’t actually happen. But what did actually happen was that two members of the First Universalist Church of Rochester, New York were posted at the station to intercept the minister, which they did and mentioned to him the idea of coming to their church to stay. After some convincing, the minister actually agreed. By May of 1846, fifty-six believers joyfully signed a charter of incorporation, and the church they began building was dedicated, debt-free, the following year. This first church was located on South Clinton Street near Main Street, across the street from the current Chase Bank building. However, today the First Universalist Church of Rochester, New York is located at 150 South Clinton Avenue and this is where Chris and I went for our tour.
Categories: #ROC, Universalist
Tags: #ROC, Clara Barton, Claude Bragdon, First Universalist Church, George De Benneville, Hagia Sophia, James Sargent, John Murray, Rochester, Unitarian Universalist Association, UUA
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses Sign
(English & Spanish)
When you hear of Jehovah Witnesses, what’s the first thing you think of? Have you ever invited them inside to hear what they have to say? So now ask yourself this, how much do you actually know (not what you’ve heard, what you actually know) about the Jehovah Witness faith? If you’re anything like Chris and I, then perhaps you don’t know a whole heck of a lot. Jehovah Witnesses are one of many sects of Christianity that fall under the umbrella term of Adventism. Adventism began during the Second Great Awakening, and is a core part of the story of the Burned Over District. I don’t want to get into the origins of Adventism too much because we plan to bring this to you in a future post, but just know that Adventism originated with a guy named William Miller right here in New York State, and it refers to the belief in the imminent Second Coming (or “Second Advent”) of Jesus Christ. Of course, like all other faith systems, Adventism has split many, many times, with one of these splits being the Jehovah Witnesses.
To be completely honest, Chris and I were a bit hesitant to visit any Kingdom Hall, but we finally got over it and I called the closest one to my house that I could find on the internet. A woman answered the phone and introduced herself, so I did the same. Like most times when I cold-call a place, I explained why I was calling and what I was hoping they could do for me. This time however, the woman who answered the phone did not seem overly concerned about what I wanted, but seemed completely thrilled that two non-Jehovah Witnesses wanted to come visit them. I again reiterated to the woman that I hoped to be able to really talk to somebody about the Jehovah Witness faith and their history, but again the woman simply explained that if we came someone was sure to help us. I ended the conversation with the woman and was feeling a bit unsure about whether I still wanted to visit the Jehovah Witnesses at all, because I definitely had my pre-conceived ideas as well and after this conversation, I felt like they were coming true. Read more
Categories: #ROC, Adventist
Tags: Adventist, Bible Study Movement, Charles Taze Russell, Field Service, Jehovah's Witnesses, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, Nelson Barbour, purple triangle, Rochester NY, The Burned Over District, The Watchtower, Upstate NY, William Miller, Yahweh
Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica
The Our Lady of Victory (OLV) Basilica has been on our ‘exploring the burned over district bucket list’ for quite some time and for various reasons we have been unable to go…until now. The Basilica is technically in Lackawanna, New York, which today has more or less been usurped by Buffalo; however, there was a time that Lackawanna itself was its own distinct entity, which I will explain more about later on. Because Chris and I had been exploring other sites in Buffalo proper that day, we drove south to get to Lackawanna. This is relevant because for any of you that have not seen the OLV Basilica, I recommend you get there the same way we did, which is driving south on Route 62 (South Park Avenue). If you go this way, as you head south, you will begin to see the spires and copper dome of the Basilica creeping up on the horizon and let me tell you, it is quite a site to see. The size and enormity of the Our Lady of Victory Basilica is simply amazing!
Categories: #BUF, Roman Catholic
Tags: Baker Boys, basilica, Buffalo, Buffalo NY, Catholicism, Father Baker, Father Baker Boys, Lackawanna, Lackawanna NY, Our Lady of Victory, Roman Catholic
Finding new places, meeting new people and discovering new things, are three of the biggest reasons Chris and I continue this journey. With that being said, we have never come upon something that ‘nobody’ knows about, but I will go out on a limb and say, I don’t think too many people are aware of the Megiddo Church, right here in Rochester, NY. The Megiddo members actually are aware that they are “not very popular” (their words, not mine) and are small in number, but their history in Rochester is over 100 years old and the argument could be made that the Megiddo Mission was instrumental in the establishment of the 19th Ward, where they continue to have a strong presence.
The Megiddo Church
The Megiddo Church
I myself first became aware of the Church several months ago as I was spending one of my aimless nights on the computer trolling the internet for new religious sites to see (yes, that’s what I do for fun). Now if you read the article about us in the Democrat and Chronicle, you already know that we have been cautious in our approach of contacting the Megiddo Church. Chris and I go to great lengths whenever we write a blog post to give an objective account of our experience and to try not to allow any personal bias to any faith system come through, but I must admit, we had some preconceived notions about the Megiddo Church. However, after seeing our guardedness in print, it really motivated us to finally attempt to make contact. I finally called the Megiddo Church directly and feeling a bit surprised at how friendly and welcoming the woman who answered the phone actually was, I began to ask myself, “Why have we been so paranoid about this place?” Chris and I were instantly given an invitation to come to a service and a tour of the grounds.
Categories: #ROC, Restorationist
Tags: #ROC, 19th Ward, Abib, Christadelphian, Christianity, City of Rochester, End Times, L.T. Nichols, Megiddo Band, Megiddo Mission, Mt. Hope Cemetery, Prophet Elijah, Restoration Movement, Rochester NY, The Megiddo Church
Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic Church
In the interest of full disclosure, while what you are reading is our first post of 2013, Chris and I actually visited this site in 2012. If you read the D&C article about us, then you are already aware that Chris and I are obsessive list makers and the sites on our “To See List” is starting to become dominated by sites outside of Rochester, and is currently heavy with things to see in Buffalo, New York. Buffalo has some incredibly beautiful and ornate houses of worship and unfortunately, many of them already have been or are in the process of being closed, particularly Catholic churches. Fortunately for us and our readers, the Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic Church is not and we took the opportunity to see it as soon as possible, which happened to be two days before Christmas 2012.
Looking at the front of Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic Church
We had contacted Blessed Trinity a few weeks prior and inquired about a tour, which is something the church does occasionally and even mentioned they wished to do more of. However, on the day we were requesting to come, we were told that because it was two days before Christmas, it would be too hard to coordinate a tour. However, we were also told that we were more than free to visit on our own and take a self-guided tour ourselves with a pamphlet the church has printed as a guide. Chris and I have done self-guided tour several times before, and because we were going to Buffalo to also see two additional religious sites, we did not hesitate to agree to this idea.