Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Church Caused My Bloggers' Block

When I can get 3 or 4 coherent sentences together, I've got a blog post. There's no shortage of ideas, inspiration, motivation, it's the coherence, the focus that troubles me. I lost it "Sunday week."

I was rocking The Phoenix Flies for 2012, gathering enough pictures for a month of posts.

Things were going well. We'd finished 2/3's of the Downtown Progressive Organ Recital. I was surprised and delighted to find a John August Swanson exhibit at Central Presbyterian. Imagine that: un-ironic, contemporary religious art. Let's hope Earl Scruggs is enjoying this band right now.

P1050918-2012-03-18-Progressive-Organ-Recital-Phoenix-Flies-walk-from-Central Presbyterian-Church-to-Trinity-Methodist-detail
Yes, things were going quite well. We were headed to a place I'd never been, Trinity Methodist (W. T. Downing 1911), the third capitol church. It's the one kitty-cornered towards the southwest from the Georgia's state capital building.

Old and new City Hall to the north, traffic court to the west, expressway gulch to the south, it's a serious sight. It doesn't seem very big in all that space.

We were about to hear Trinity's great theater organ, the refurbished 100 year old Austin.

We anticipated the organ and those giant stained glass windows.

This is where I lost it. Churches impress, Trinity was no exception. It's brick, minimal, with a greenish-yellow light. There was a smell of age. I don't think it was love at first sight.

This is where my brain has been stuck for 10 days, not in a bad way, not in a good way, just stuck.

This is the east window, it's big but my impression was slender, vertical, yellow/green, the motif - slender lampposts.

The north and south window elements are wider.

The symbolic elements are compact and elevated. I couldn't take them all in. Has anyone photographed them for the record?

The pipes blend with the brick rather than "pop" with a bright shiny finish. It's line and texture in monochrome, windows too. The old woodwork is what "pops." The pews are 1856, from the old church that burned. Sherman slept his troops on these pews.

Organist Bruce Wynn told is a bit about the church and organ.

You can see some of the brick and wood details.

The brick tricked me: my brain felt more outside than inside.

The view from the chancel. The choir loft is small, Bruce said it was intended for 2 quartets.

Theater organs are voiced differently than church organs, it was certainly different to my ears. We were happy to hear Bruce demonstrate.

We walked inside the wind box / air box / air chest. When Bruce turned on the air, the box went air tight and you couldn't open the door.

It is a 100 year-old example of handmade functional woodworking. It's not furniture but it is beautiful.

There is a bit of fresh wiring.

"Austin developed the Universal Air Chest System" "During the second world war the company contributed gliders to the war effort."

That wasn't all.

The pipe room extends behind the sanctuary into this room where Bruce can play from a second console.

This hexagonal, balconied room is a tiny Victorian chapel surrounded by a kitchen and Sunday school rooms. It took my be surprise.

I'll let it go there. I hope this cures my bloggers' block. I may have to return to the scene.

Thanks to the Atlanta Preservation Center and to the Atlanta Chapter — American Guild of Organists.


  1. This is great, almost like being there. My list of places I want to see in person is growing.

  2. Yeah, I don't love it. It's not bad, but maybe underwhelming? Lots of brick. Just seems really severe. Interesting to see though, have driven past before and not given it much of a second look.

  3. Come back any time! I enjoyed your reflections on Trinity. I think part of the architectural conundrum is that you have Gothic furniture in a lovely Arts and Crafts building. The heavy Gothic altar piece was brought over on a boat from Germany. I glad you enjoyed your time with us and I would be happy to let you back in anytime.


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