Houses of Worship Summer Tour runs through Aug. 13Written by David Yonke Editor, ToledoFAVS.com | | David.Yonke@ReligionNews.com
The 19th Annual Houses of Worship Summer Tour kicked off June 25 and will continue at 11 a.m. each Tuesday through Aug. 13.
The schedule features five Protestant churches, including one that moved into the former Maumee 18 movie complex; the Toledo Catholic Diocese’s newest parish; a chapel run by Catholic nuns, and a Reform Jewish synagogue.
All tours are free and open to the public, giving people a chance to step inside buildings they might otherwise zip past on their way to another destination.
Organized by Toledo Area Ministries, each tour typically lasts an hour and includes presentations by clergy or lay experts on the history of the congregations, an explanation of foundational beliefs, tours of the property, and time for questions and answers. Many tours end with light refreshments and a time of fellowship.
In addition to visiting eight unique sites this year, one of the weekly stops will include a slight detour – to the back acreage of a church that is growing food and raising animals to feed the hungry.
On July 9, visitors to the University Church will not only tour the building but also get a look at the United Methodist church’s productive backyard gardens.
Founded in 2006 as a church geared for college students at the nearby University of Toledo, the congregation moved in 2010 to its current eight-acre site at 4747 Hill Ave.
The Rev. Julian Davies, founding pastor (and a former UT chemistry professor), leads the church in its commitment to reach the community, promote social justice and support local and global missions.
University Church makes sure the acreage behind the sanctuary is utilized as fully as possible, with several different types of organic gardens growing fresh vegetables and fruit, all of which are given away to those in need.
There is a 2,100-plant vertical grow garden, beehives and a small “biodome”-style greenhouse that cycles water between a fish-and-frog tank and vegetable plants.
One of the more artistic projects is a large square with sunflowers planted along the edges, creating a “room” framed by the tall sunflower plants.
Here are the eight houses of worship selected for the summer tour:
- June 25: Hope Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), 2201 Secor Rd., Toledo, Ohio, 43606. Pastors: The Rev. Kevin Maxey and the Rev. Laura Strietelmeier.
- July 2: Calvary Church (Assembly of God), 1360 Conant St., Maumee, Ohio, 43537. Pastor: The Rev. Chad Gilligan. Founded in 1951, Calvary moved from Glendale Avenue into the former Maumee 18 theater complex in December, 2012.
- July 9: The University Church (United Methodist). Pastor: The Rev. Julian Davies. Established in 2006, the congregation is on a mission to not only feed the soul but to feed the hungry.
- July 16: Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim (Reform Judaism), 6453 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania. Rabbi Sam Weinstein. Temple Shomer Emunim is the only Reformed Synagogue in Northwest Ohio and has been a center for spiritual fulfillment and cultural fellowship for more than 135 years.
- July 23: Blessed John XXIII (Roman Catholic) Parish, 24250 Dixie Highway, Perrysburg. The Rev. Herb Webber, founding pastor. Located on State Route 25 just outside of Perrysburg (beyond Levis Commons), Blessed John XXII is the newest Catholic parish in the Toledo area.
- July 30: First Presbyterian Church of Maumee, 200 E. Broadway, Maumee. Pastor: The Rev. Clint Tolbert. Origins of this congregation date back to the early 1800s.
- Aug. 6: Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, on the campus of Lourdes University, 6832 Convent Blvd, Sylvania. Sister Ann Carmen Barone, vice president for mission and ministry, Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel, the main chapel of the Sisters of St. Francis, also serves as the chapel for Lourdes University.
- Aug. 13: First Church of God, Toledo, 3016 Collingwood Blvd., in Toledo’s Old West End. Pastor: The Rev. Robert A Culp. Pastor Culp has led the congregation for 52 years.
David Yonke is the editor and community manager of Toledo Faith & Values (ToledoFAVS.com), a website that provides in-depth, nonsectarian news coverage of religion, faith and spirituality in the Toledo area.
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