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St. Philip Lutheran Church

Our Mission:

Growing, Serving, Sharing Christ

A Bit about St. Philip...

The Buildings & Grounds


St. Philip Lutheran Church, built-in 1928, and dedicated on July 21, 1929, is designed in an early decorated English Gothic style of architecture. Walking up the front steps of St. Philip, you enter the Church and immediately notice the window directly above the entrance. In that window are the symbols of Faith, Hope, and Charity displayed in the three panels.

Moving up the steps and into the Narthex you will take notice of the beamed ceiling and panel work. Upon opening the center aisle doors, you can immediately see the Chancel, which is the heart of the Sanctuary, beautiful in both design and execution...the wooden arch, the three steps leading from the Nave floor (the main section of the Church building) to the first platform, then one stop to the second level and the three steps to the Altar. The number of steps intentional and reflective of the number seven, which is so often used in the Bible.

The Reredos, of oak, (the wall which leads upward from the Altar) is divided into five panels each containing special symbols. The center panel has the hand-carved wooden cross, with Christ on the Cross, which measures four feet high. Moving your eyes upward from the Cross, you will notice the Crown upon which we base our Hope, as the Psalmist writes in Psalm 71, Verse 5: "For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust."

In the four panels on either side of the Cross, the four main events in the Life of Christ are pictured: Birth, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. The four hand-carved wooden candle holders measure one and one-half feet in height. 

On the top or table (Mensa) of the Altar, is the placement for the Bible and additional Service Books, and, also the Holy Communion Vessels. Five Crosses are carved into the Mensa symbolizing the five Wounds of Christ.

The three beautiful, lancet art glass Chancel windows, rising above the Reredos, show the Means of Grace, the Word, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion. 

The triple window in the West Transept, which houses the Baptistry, captures the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; the Father is represented by a Hand; the Son by the Lamb; and the Holy Spirit by a Descending Dove. This symbolism is also shown to the right of the windows, directly above the Baptismal Font.

There are twelve windows in the Nave proper. These windows contain the symbols of the Twelve Apostles: Peter, Andrew, James the Greater, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the Less, Jude, Simon, and Matthias. 

The exterior grounds of St. Philip include the "Garden of Thanks and Remembrance." While in the garden, look up at the South/East wall of the Church and you will see the Number 1896. Here is the cornerstone which was first placed in the first Church building of St. Philip at Lawrence and Oakley on April 12. 1896. When the current Church building was constructed, the cornerstone was removed and placed at its current location during a special service on November 4th, 1928. The cornerstone contains the following items: 1) the Holy Bible; 2) Luther's Small Catechism; 3) an English Hymnal and a German Hymnal; 4) Constitution of the Congregation and Brief History; 5) List of Voting Members and Church Officers; 6) The Lutheran Witness, The Lutheraner, and The Missionstaube; 7) Synodical Handbook; 8) Copy of The Augsburg Confession; 9) Autographs of President Coolidge, Governor Small, and Mayor Thompson; 10) Copy of the main sections of "The Tribune" and "Sonntagspost"; 11) Write-up from "The Lincolnite"; 12) Picture of the old Church at Lawrence and Oakley; 13) Copy of St. Philip's "Herald". 

On May 10th, 1953 the School and Parish Activities Building was dedicated. The initial cost of the building was $275,000 and included five classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, and general administrative offices. The basement included a kitchenette, shower and locker rooms, boiler room with storage facilities, and a lunchroom. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Ekroth, Martarano and Ekroth. A cornerstone for this building was placed on September 28, 1952. 

Within the School and Parish Activities Building, also known as The Reverend Dr. Victor C. Rickman Parish Activities Center, you will notice stained-glass windows facing the east. These windows carry the central theme of a cross on which there is a shield holding aloft the symbol of the Name of Jesus. At the foot of the cross is the symbol of St. Philip - the barley loaves and the fishes from the story of the Feeding of the 5,000. 

On either side of the coss are the angels, symbolic of knowledge and service, great elements of Christian education. The Angel of Knowledge holds the lamp from which the light is shed in the form of a cross. The Angel of Service holds the flagon and basin as a symbol of our Lord's service to His disciples in foot-washing. 

The four corners of the window are occupied by beautiful representations of the four Evangelists. Clockwise from the lower left is St. Matthew - in the form of a winged man; in the upper left is St. Mark - in the form of a winged lion; in the upper right is the symbol of St. Luke - in the form of a winged ox; in the lower right is the symbol of St. John in the form of an eagle. The background is in a free pattern to conform to the structural lines of the window.

Other fun facts about the St. Philip property....

-During the school day, and before the students had playgrounds, Campbell Avenue, between Bryn Mawr and the alley, was blocked off so that the children could use that as a playground area.

-Before the hi-rise apartment buildings were built, which are now located on Byrn Mawr across from the Church and Parsonage, that land area was also used by the students for softball games and play areas.

-Before the School and Parish Activities Building was built in 1953, it was an open area of land. In the winter it was often the site of an ice-skating rink. It was flooded and lit by a neighbor, Mr. VanderBosch, for the community to use.

-At one time, there was a stage at the south end of Memorial Hall The stage was 22'x18' and the site for many productions - plays, musicals, and operettas.

-At the north end of Memorial Hall, there was a three-lane bowling alley.


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