Shrine of St. Joseph

Shrine of St. Joseph

Throughout the world many Christian churches have stood the test of time, but not by accident. In order for a neighborhood church to survive it requires the support of its parishioners and the local community. In some church’s history many issues have come and gone creating division but support of the community’s local church has remained constant while others have closed.

This website will work to highlight those historic churches who’s doors have remained open and active in their communities for nearly a century or more. From its architecture to its history each of these churches has served as pillars to their neighborhoods and has an incredible story worth being told. ChurchesUnderGod.com is a project to promote these historic churches of Christ and the communities that have united to support them. Telling the stories of these is churches is also meant as an invitation, so I encourage you to visit them an experience their history and beauty for yourself.

Origin of ChurchesUnderGod.com:

A number of years ago while working as a photojournalist at the Intelligercer newspaper in Edwardsville, IL., I began to make a list of historic St. Louis churches. Just by limiting that list to churches that are Judeo-Christian, around 100 years old, and still currently active as a church, I devised quite a large list.

Cathedral Basilica, St. Louis

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Having been raised on the architecturally beautiful campus of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, while my father attended that school to become a Lutheran Pastor in the late 1980’s, I learned a great appreciation for St. Louis and much of its architecture. Also, having been a fine art photographer for almost the past 20 years and finding a handful of photos of some of these historic churches, it prompted me to seek out some of these churches in an effort to learn more about their individual histories and see them for myself. To say seeing these places left me speechless would be an understatement.

Shrine of St. Joseph

Christ Church Cathedral

Having the opportunity to meet with church historians like Paul Anderson of Christ Church Cathedral (article coming soon) and Howard Mathews of the Shrine of St. Joseph, I learned that these 2 churches alone had such rich and fascinating histories. Their stories inspired me to seek out other churches in St. Louis in order to learn their histories and capture images of their truly breath-taking interiors. This website is the current and ongoing mission to highlight some of these historic churches in St. Louis and share their stories.

What inspires me the most about this project is in order for a church to remain active and open, it requires the support of its congregations and its neighborhoods. For nearly 100 years these churches have accomplished this epic task. With its generations of members, despite any differences they may have had with each other in race, politics, gender, or nationality, they all set aside differences to work together to keep these churches alive and thriving. A feat like this does not happen by accident or chance. It is proof that communities can accomplish and continue great things when they unite together. In this time when it seems so many things are out to divide us, I thought these stories could serve as a good reminder to all of us of what we can accomplish together even through the worst of times.

– Mark Polege

How Do We Select Which Churches to Include?

It is a special accomplishment to maintain a church for nearly or over 100 years, few businesses even enjoy such a lengthy history. It is also a real challenge to maintain a physical church as well as continued support of a congregation. Christianity was at the forefront of St. Louis’ founding, and played a very important part in missionary roles throughout the newly born country of America. This is why we have decide to highlight churches that are:

  • Around or over 100 years old
  • Juedo or Christian denomination
  • Still operating as a church

This is not to disregard the value of other churches who do not fall into those parameters in any way. As beautiful as some churches may be, we feel it is a story worth telling on how a church, a congregation, work together over generations to continue to unite and support it. No church continues to operate apart from its neighborhood, and a city like St. Louis, Missouri, USA is fortunate to have been the final destination for many parishioners who fled Europe in search of religious freedom. The city has a very devote population, so what better city to begin such a project.