Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Places of Worship

Today's Shoot Out topic is brought to us by Rebecca of Ambler Pennsylvania. She says:

This week I picked places of worship because I was thinking that so many churches & synagogues (etc.), have such interesting architecture and symbolism both indoors and out. In addition, there is often much history surrounding the older buildings used for worship as well, adding to the interest.

Western Kentucky is known around these parts as the very buckle of the Bible Belt. I could fill up blog posts for the next year and still not come close to including all the churches. I've chosen to show you some of the ones in my immediate neighborhood.

The flood wall features a mural with Paducah's historic places of worship. The beautiful Jewish temple - seen with the golden minarets - burned before we moved here, but it was right downtown.

you might have to click on the photo to enlarge - use your back button to return

This is the Presbyterian Church three blocks away. The congregation has been so welcoming to the artists who have relocated to their neighborhood. It is a beautiful church.

The Methodists are also just three blocks from our house. There's an indoor swimming pool in this church! They're very generous about letting the neighborhood use their meeting rooms to gather.

This is Grace Episcopal -five blocks from our house. The Stars of David fascinate me. During the Civil War, her courtyard was used as an infirmary. They allow us to hold our rehearsals of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues there. Every year the performance raises money for the domestic violence shelter, and it raises awareness. Grace Church lives up to her name.

This is the Catholic church, St. Francis de Salles. It is six blocks from my little computer room. Ironically, Bill took care of the brothers from a St. Francis de Salles monastery back in Maryland, in his old practice. I miss Brother John.

St. Francis de Salles

The churches are, for the most part, segregated here. Not by law any more, thank God, but sadly by choice. I find it sad, anyway. This is a Baptist Church four blocks in the other direction from our house.

This is another Baptist church. I don't know if it is for white Baptists or black Baptists. It's the furthest, about eighteen blocks away. But it's right across Broadway from the hospital where I'll be working. (Yipppeeeeeeee!)

This is a spiritual place for so many people. The cars in this photo each contain one man. And there are always cars backed away from the river, occupants staring at the water. Always. I have written about these lonely men.

Bill's place of worship is his studio.

Mine used to be here. These were the fields behind our farm. I walked with the dogs, whistling to the red tail hawks and being thrilled when I got good enough that they would call back. (I always hoped I wasn't saying something rude in hawk-talk, and I'd laugh at myself.) I walked the dogs all at once, three times a day. Only twice a day in winter when it was dark after work. I rode the horses here with the kids before there were whippets. When there were Opie the lab, and Measley the very mixed. Sara and I found the Magical Lands.

There my soul found its breath and its reason. There was where I knew God was listening, and more importantly where I could hear.

Here I find my breath in the smiles of the people on the sidewalks. In the fact that at Kirchhoff's bakery, they work at perfecting Bill's favorite Ciabatta, and give me a loaf for free because they're excited that Bill will love it, and because they felt bad that they had none the last two times Bill came in. In knowing every person in the audience at the 7 o'clock Sunday movie at the independent movie theater.

In caring about my neighbors, because in reality they are dear friends.

It's a great town.

hug your hounds


  1. Lovely blog entry! Thank you for sharing!


    Dog lover

  2. The flood wall wins for more imaginative! With all the churches, Paducah looks like Redneck Florence.

  3. And it has a great representative. Someday,you and Bill should investigate Rich's "shortcut" to Memphis. Just a couple of hours from your house are lovely fields with horses and ponds. I think at this time of year, it might remind you of your own green cathedral.


  4. Lovely, grand churches you have there. They are really the last big institutions of segregation, aren't they? We have found that to be true wherever we have lived.

    Going on those walks with the dogs is one of the very best ways of worship.

  5. Congratulations on your new employment, Patience. You seem very excited! The thought of segregation is difficult to think of, especially in a church. That IS so sad. The church buildings in your area are stunning, with lots of beautiful spires and detailing. Lovely shoot today, thanks so much!

    Best wishes, Barry and Linda

  6. Lovely post. I, too, appreciate the beautiful architecture of many buildings of religions, yet find my own Great Spirit in my everyday life, in nature, in my dogs, in my friends.

  7. Great post. For me being with my pets, walking my dogs and others dogs is my therapy in a way.

  8. dog lover! good to hear from you again! thank you

    B & B - things that I read on the net are occasionally - rarely, in fact - deemed 'Bill worthy'. Words that make me think or cry or laugh so hard that I have to change my panties. "Redneck Florence" was definitely Bill worthy! We're expecting around 150 people tonight for a Gallery opening, and I *will* share!

    And Gus, maybe I'll bring Willy Yum and just keep heading south!

    Isn't it sad, Linda? We've come a long way, I suppose, and there's comfort in that, but still. Thanks for your kind words and hi to Barry and Lindsay! (Your book is in the mail - thanks also for that!)

    Jean, I think we were sisters in another life! So many parallels. Or at least I flatter myself in so thinking. :-)

    Anne-Katherine - Yup. Great good therapy.

  9. great photos and beautiful areas where you live. lovely post. have a great weekend!!

  10. Wonderful! Makes me want to move to KY.

  11. Thank you Doreen, and same to you!

    Alison - YES!

  12. It's a great town. And you are a great ambassador for your town.

    It has been wonderful catching up. It was a luxury. We're sorry we fell so far behind, and we're sure we'll fall behind again. But we meant it when we said, "Your blog is important to us."

    Thank you for sharing it.
    Jake, Fergi and Our MomaSally xxxooo

  13. I always enjoy your posts about the town. I am finding more folks every day from Kentucky. I saw in this post you are going to work at the hospital. That is great. Is that Our Lady of Lourdes. When I was the intake nurse for our home health I talked to folks there often.

  14. All beautiful but the mural is wonderful.

  15. The Methodist church with a swimming pool. This is the first I have evevr heard. I went to a methodist school in Borneo, founded by American Missionaries.

  16. A pool? Wow! A shame about he segregation, but at least it is voluntary. I am always happy to see that my church is mixed races. I feel good knowing that everyone feels welcome, but then again I live on the northeast.

  17. What a lot of churches where you live, Patience! Thanks for capturing them and sharing them with us.

  18. what a lovely tribute to Paducah. You and Bill are such an asset to our community. Thank you for your thoughts on our churches and town.

  19. I always wanted to go inside Grace Episopal when I was a little girl, my uncle would take me on bike rides by there when I would visit.

    They belonged to Fountain Avenue Methodist and we would walk to church - as a kid who lived out in the country, you can't imagine what a novelty that was.


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