June 7, 2022

Stained Glass & Sanctuaries Tour- Fort Wayne

Architecture, Fort Wayne Churches, Indiana Churches

A few weeks ago I was able to travel to Fort Wayne for the first annual Stained Glass and Sanctuaries tours. Fort Wayne has hosted an evening church tour around Christmas time for several years in a row but this was the very first one to highlight the churches' beautiful windows and sanctuaries in the daytime. My mom and I were able to make it to seven of the churches on the tour.

I've done my best to compile a good amount of history and information for each church. Thank God for the history tabs on their websites!

St. John Lutheran Church

History on St. John as a whole is limited on their website but I can tell you that the church was established in 1853. The church did provide a wonderful handout detailing her stained glass installations and all the symbolism they contain. The Crucifixion window (pictured below) depicts the Holy Trinity, God's all-seeing eye, the lamb, and a few more familiar symbols.

The church is a hybrid of Romanesque (curved arches, inset dome above baptismal font) and Gothic Revival (cruciform shape, upward pointing arch over main entrance). It's a neat combination to see.

Trinity English Lutheran Church

Trinity English was established in 1846 when a need arose for Fort Wayne to have an English speaking Lutheran church (as opposed to the predominantly German congregations that already existed). The flèche spire, pointed arches, buttressing, and cruciform shape all point to Trinity being a Gothic Revival construction. My favorite feature is the quire- the area that hold space for, well, the choir. It's unusual in the city and I can think of just one other church that has one.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Trinity is small but mighty. She was established in 1844 and is a wonderful example of the English subtype of Gothic Revival architecture. She is the only other church in Fort Wayne that I can think of with a quire. One of Trinity's organists was on hand to play for tour-goers and I applaud that foresight. That organ is simply stunning. The ornate reredos (altarpiece) depicts major players in the history of the Church as a whole as well as some figures from the history of the Episcopal church. I love the facade of this church. The slightly yellow stone is a perfect complement to the turquoise-blue steeple.

St. Patrick's Catholic

This stunning church's cornerstone was dedicated in 1890 and the church was completed the following year. She is built in the Gothic Revival style (very popular, obviously) which you can see in the pointed arches, rose windows, vaulting, and ornate reredos. The lights never got flipped on for the tour but luckily, it was a sunny day and we had plenty of beautiful natural light streaming in through the stained glass.

First Missionary Church

I was so excited for this one! First Missionary was built in the Craftsman style; a style I can't really say I've seen used in a church. The Craftsman style can be seen in the squat shape of the building, the gabled roof with deep eaves, and open space and tall windows that allow for natural light. Stained glass is often a component in Craftsman style homes but since this is a church, it's less notable but no less beautiful. My favorite feature of this church is the exterior. I love the contrast of the dark brick and white trim.

St. Nicholas Orthodox

I love Orthodox churches for the extra layer of culture they provide. I have a Lutheran heritage but if I told you I was a Norwegian/German Lutheran you'd probably just look at me and say, "Yeah, who isn't?". Orthodox churches are dripping with their roots. St. Nicholas was founded at the end of World War II by members of the Macedonian Orthodox population in Fort Wayne. The current building was built in 1983, a most unfortunate decade for design and architecture but luckily, St. Nicholas avoided any unfortunate design choices. It's a beautiful church with a perfectly cozy feel.

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox

I do not know the ins and outs of Orthodoxy. I can tell you that Holy Trinity is specifically listed as being a Greek Orthodox church. Typical to any Orthodox church is the iconostasis (icon screen) which divides the laity from the clergy and houses the space where the elements of the Lord's Supper are consecrated. Directly above the center of the nave is a vibrant blue dome showing Jesus surrounded by angels and (if my limited knowledge of the Greek alphabet is correct) the four gospel writers. My favorite part about this church is that her windows are all transparent glass, allowing all the natural light to come in and show the vibrant colors of the icons.