A Sweet Parish in a Sweet Church Building

A Sweet Parish in a Sweet Church Building 979 1741 Connect the Dots!

A Sweet Parish in a Sweet Church Building

By Br. Thanasi (Thomas G.) Stama, St. John’s, Lancaster

I have heard of the Episcopal church in McArthur, OH for some 7 years now. First from Fr. Bruce Smith who would supply their once or twice a month when we both attended St. James in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus. Most recently from Mark Conrad at my new parish (St. John’s) who leads a morning prayer in McArthur. So this Sunday I accompanied Mark down to McArthur. Road trip! Connect The Dots!

We arrived at the old rector’s house (now the church’s offices & classrooms). I could see the back of this lovely brick church. I was excited. Who wouldn’t be? Before me was the sweetest church I have seen in years; brick, a tall steeple and distinctly Gothic Revival. Plus like Goldilocks and the three bears, “Just the right size.” Not too big. Nor not to small.

original oak pew

The interior was perfect. Bright colored stainglass, maroon carpet and pew cushions for the original oak pews from 1883 when the church building was completed. Facing the aisle each pew side panel has a stylize dogwood blossom in the top. The dogwood was consider in the 1700-1800s as the wood that Christ was crucified on. So the blossom became a symbol of the cross.

The parish gathered and what a charming group. Ruth who played the organ for the service was first to arrive. We chitchatted while she practiced. Then Ronda (no H) came and Mark introduced her. She was the lector. Followed by three ladies Eleanor, Millie and Betty. Then came Larry and Isabel. Mark was introducing people faster than I could get names. Of course I started forgetting names as quick as I was introduced. But at every opportunity I asked again someone’s name. Being a visitor, one should really try to remember names. No one seems offended if you keep on asking. For myself as a monk in the Community of the Gospel, I want to know so I can add them to my daily prayers.


The morning prayer service was balanced with three sung hymns with organ accompaniment by Ruth. Mark gave a great homily based on the readings and tying them in to Harry Potter! In particular how when young Harry invited to go to Hogwarts School and now facing the brick wall for the entrance to the train platform (9 ¾). He took a leap of Faith and ran into the wall to get in. Just as Moses and Joshua did climbing up into a scary mountaintop of fog, smoke and fire to receive the Ten Commandments.

After the service we all milled around talking and I once again asked names. Prayers for you Ruth, Ronda, Eleanor, Millie, Betty, Larry and Isabel!