Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What NOT to Do: Philly's Episcopal Cathedral

Image courtesy The Good Reverend

From the mailbag:

Just for fun I think The Church Project should visit the Episcopal Cathedral at 38th and Chestnut. I've deemed the renovation there as Neo-Gothic meets Ikea. Pretty bizarre. My pretty liberal pastor (not to be mentioned please) laments how they ruined it.

Good lord.

Not the first person to suggest the Episcopal Cathedral, and probably not the last. Is the Project's time really so worthless as to waste on a space like this one?

For those unfamiliar with the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, it's a handsome Gothic structure first built in 1898 and rebuilt in 1906 after a fire. It chugged along beautifully until 1999, when the Powers That Be felt it necessary to completely redesign the entire space.

The results, finished in 2002, showcase a classic building stripped of its ornate, timeless decor and replaced it with tacky modern furnishings. I've panned St. Stephen for doing the same thing, but they've got nothing on this group.
Neo-Gothic meets IKEA indeed. Hell, even Pimp My Church barely covers it.

This sort of thing naturally makes the Project go all twitchy and start to foam at the mouth, so the less time I spend discussing it, the better. But I will just say this, with every ounce of contempt I can muster:

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, you're a bunch of !%@$@!&. As is anyone else who gets the bright idea to do something similar. You can rationalize it all you want, but it's still an incredibly stupid thing to do, and it'll earn you scorn, derision, and a crowbar with your name on it.

(Ok, maybe not a crowbar. But scorn and derision, certainly.)

Who knows, one day we may go there, just for %!$%@# and giggles. But until that wonderful, imaginary time when we can piss away a Sunday and think nothing of it, there are far better things with which to occupy us.


  1. Some folks just can't leave well enough alone.

  2. As an Episcopalian in this diocese, I am especially embarassed by PEC. This is supposed to be the seat for our bishop, our showplace. They even stripped the name away- it was called Episcopal Church of Christ the Savior. People in and our of the diocese are still bitching about this things that now looks like a Masonic Temple, but more boring.

  3. A few days ago - after debating with a friend which church in NYC was the See of the Episcopalian Archbishop of NYC - I told him Philly's See was Christ Church. Then, I googled it. I was shocked! Christ Church is the most beautiful & historic church for the Episcopalians in the city...historically, perhaps the most historic Episcopalian Church in the country. Why the hell is this church the seat of the archbishop???

  4. Re St Stephens: They had/have no money. The congregation went bye-bye. Doing anything to that dismal interior was a positive.