Churches stay open after Easter

Posted Online: April 18, 2014, 4:10 am
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By Leon Lagerstam,
DAVENPORT -- Churches are open between Easter and Christmas.

The Hilltop Altar Crawl tour of eight Davenport churches will prove it for any doubters, or to "Christmeasters," a term applied to people who attend church only on Christmas and Easter, spokeswoman June Dominacki said.

The Hilltop Campus Village and People Uniting Neighbors and Churches -- PUNCH -- will sponsor the free, second annual crawl from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 4.

Churches on the tour are:
--Bethel A.M.E., 323 W. 11th St.
--First Baptist, 1401 Perry St.
--First Christian, 510 E. 15th St.
--First Presbyterian, 1702 Iowa St.
--Sacred Heart Cathedral, 422 E. 10th St.
--St. John's United Methodist, 109 E. 14th St.
--St. Paul Lutheran, 2136 N. Brady St.
--Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 121 W. 12th St.

Last year's crawl drew about 300 people to tour six churches. Organizers hope to draw about 500 people this year by adding Sacred Heart and St. Paul Lutheran to the itinerary.

"We did have several people last year wonder if we're giving out free samples of communion wine, since we called it an altar crawl," Ms. Dominacki said jokingly.

Ms. Dominacki is PUNCH's secretary and an office manager at First Baptist, one of the tour stops.

Right before last year's altar crawl began, there was a sudden downpour, making some wonder if it was meant to be some kind of communal baptism, she said. "And others wondered if people were just going to sit down in the pews and fall asleep."

"All we want this to be is an open house type of thing," Ms. Dominacki said. "A here-we-are, come-look-at-us event."

Each church will have historical displays and information about services, programs and activities, "but with absolutely no pressure," she said. There also may be bake sales at some of the churches.

"PUNCH works the same way," Ms. Dominacki said. "We do a lot for the community, but don't force anything on anyone."

Every church has its own "niche," she said. "This will help show people what different churches are doing, and make them not look as scary to some people.

"It's unusual to have this many churches working together on a mutual program such as this, sharing ideas and helping each other out so much," Ms. Dominacki said. "It makes our community stronger, and supports local businesses around us, too."

Plus, it's nice just to have something else to do on a Sunday afternoon, she said. The churches are within a couple miles of each other, and most are within walking distance.

"The roots of the churches and congregations participating in today's tour are planted deeply in the rich soil of this early settlement along the Mississippi, according to brochure information to be handed out to tour takers.

"Davenport founder Antoine LeClaire, himself a Catholic, was an early supporter of religious life of all faiths. He generously donated the tracts of land on which Catholic, Congregational, Baptist and Christian congregations built their churches."

Six of the eight churches also are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. May is National Historic Preservation Month, Ms. Dominacki said, adding that it was "another reason we decided to hold it in the beginning of May instead of the end of the month."

Bethel A.M.E. Church, 323 W. 11th St.: A Craftsman-style stucco and half-timbered building, designed by noted Davenport architectural firm Clausen and Clausen, has been in service since 1908. Parking and handicapped accessibility are available on the church's west side and to the north across 11th Street.

First Baptist Church, 1401 Perry St.: The building's cornerstone was laid in 1889 during the 50th anniversary of the congregation's founding. The site had served as a Civil War training camp. The church parking lot is between 14th and 15th streets. The congregation celebrates its 175th anniversary with a special Sept. 18 event.

First Christian Church, 510 E. 15th St.: The sanctuary was dedicated in 1966. The congregation celebrates its 175th anniversary with a special July 27 event. Parking is available behind the church.

First Presbyterian Church, 1702 Iowa St.,: Built 1897-98, designed by Galesburg architectural firm Gottschalk and Beadle, and stained-glass windows by J and R Lamb Studios, New York, N.Y. The church is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. Parking is available at a Kirkwood Boulevard lot.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, 422 W. 10th St.: Designed by Chicago architect James Egan; dedicated in 1891. When completed, it was the tallest building in Davenport and 10 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty from ground to spire. Parking is available off LeClaire or Iowa streets.

St. John's United Methodist Church, 109 E. 14th St.: Cornerstone was laid in 1902 and services began in 1903. Built for $112,000, as an example of turn-of-the-century Gothic revival. Parking is available in a Perry Street lot behind the church.

St. Paul Lutheran, 2136 N. Brady St.: History dates back to the late 1870s. The first St. Paul building in a Gothic Revival style opened in January 1882. Its second sanctuary was dedicated in May 1902. Another new sanctuary was built in 1952; and a fourth church was built in 2007, a $7.7 million project. Parking lots are south of the church between Brady and Main streets.

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 121 W. 12th St.: Cornerstone was laid in 1867. It is the oldest church on the tour, consecrated in 1873. Parking lot is at Palmer Drive and Brady Street.


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2014. There are 71 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The weather is discouraging for our great Democratic rally tomorrow, but never mind that. Let our Rock Island people show they can make a big procession themselves, rain or shine.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Apparatus arrived for drilling an artesian well on the premises of George Warner's Atlantic Brewery.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German army continued its attacks on the allies line near the Belgian coast.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Zachert northwest of Buffalo Prairie, burned to the ground.
1964 -- 50 years ago: WVIK-FM, noncommercial educational radio station at Augustana College, will return to the air tomorrow. The station operates at a power of 10 watts at 90.9 megacycles on the frequency modulation band. The station is operated with a staff of 92 students.
1989 -- 25 years ago: An avenue of lights, 13 Christmas trees strung with more than 44,000 sparkling lights, will expand the Festival of Trees beyond the walls of RiverCenter in downtown Davenport in mid-November.

(More History)