New Sacred Spaces Open House day offers glimpse inside Center City places of worship
Center City Residents' Association and an interfaith group of Rittenhouse Square houses of worship have come together to create a holiday season Sacred Spaces Open House. Twelve participating congregations will open their doors to the public on Sunday, December 16, 2012, from 1 to 4PM.
A tour map and historic/architectural descriptions created by the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for this free, self guided tour will be available both electronically at http://preservationalliance.com/tours/sacredsites/rittenhouse/ and by pamphlets at each stop.
Congregants will be present to answer questions about their building's architecture and history and current outreach activities. Some sites will also offer refreshments and music.
For local residents who walk past these buildings daily, this is an opportunity to enjoy historic, world class interiors and learn about the varied activities of the places of faith in our midst. For out of towners, the Sacred Spaces Open House provides an amenity commonly found in Europe where even the most humble houses of worship open their doors daily to tourists. Visiting all 12 sites makes an easy afternoon stroll and can serve as a welcome respite to the holiday season hustle and bustle.
This open house includes an all-star array of architectural magnificence: Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (18th and Spruce), a neo-Gothic building with stained glass depicting the five books of the Torah, located just blocks from the soaring byzantine dome of First Baptist (17th and Sansom) housed within a newly cleaned Romanesque exterior, which is a stone's throw from the intimate meditation rooms at the Shambhala Center (20th and Sansom) which are dwarfed by the majestic 1,200 person capacity neo-Classical hall of St. Patrick's (20th and Rittenhouse).
The buildings on the Sacred Spaces Open House tour are:
Arch Street United Methodist Church
Broad and Arch Streets
First Baptist Church
17th and Sansom Streets
First Church of Christ, Scientist
Pine Street, between 19th and 20th Streets
First Presbyterian Church
21st and Walnut Streets
First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
Chestnut Street, between 21st and 22nd Streets
Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion
Chestnut Street, between 21st and 22nd Streets
St Mark's Episcopal Church
Locust Street, between 16th and 17th Streets
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church
20th Street, between Locust and Spruce Streets
The Shambhala Center
2030 Sansom Street
Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel
18th and Spruce Streets
Tenth Presbyterian Church
17th and Spruce Streets
Trinity Memorial Church
22nd and Spruce Streets
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