Oh Father, Where Art Thou? Part 2

This is the second part of this series on St. Agnes Church.  If you missed the first you can read it here.I had been walking around the church for a while now, still not feeling 100% but marvelling in this beauty that was before me. I was wondering, how could such a rich piece of history go to waste like this? litterally as we were standing there, little crumblings from the ceiling were falling down on top of us. Dust was building on the camera lens from debris and all the dirt being kicked up off the floor from all of us walking around. The basement which was completely empty except a few chairs, looked like it had been flooded at some point, probably from pipes freezing in the winter, which had spawned a whole culture of mold and other interesting plants.

I managed to make my way up to the balcony which looked like it once held the choir and the organ. This is where I really started to fear for safety, as much of the balcony had been stripped away. There were nails poking out in every direction. Some of the floor boards had been pryed away and you could see the floor below. As I ventured out on the balcony, there were three of us standing and just looking straight out into where the congregation would have once been. The view was absolutley spectacular from that point of view (picture at very top of this post). The morning light was shinning in from all the windows and it was just gorgeous in there. When we got back home to the GTA, I was doing some research and came across one Urban Exploration website that listed over 20 abandon churches in Detroit. I don’t know how many churches there are within Detroit, but 20 seemed like a lot to be empty! So, is this a wide spread issue across the US, or even Canada? I’m not really sure, but they certainly make for great subject matter.
I haven’t really been religious for a number of years, but recently my family has started to get back into the faith. My sister and father are both active members in their congregation, and I fully support that. I have been with them a few times to their service, and seeing the sense of community their church has, is probably why it hit me the hardest to see that building in such disaray. I always picture a church congregation fighting and doing what it takes to keep that community together and doing whatever it takes to help another person out. Seeing that missing here was truly a sad scene. In one way I am happy and fortunate I could document this building before it’s gone, but hopefully in the future there will not be so many empty churches with this kind of beauty left to sit.

Oh Father, Where Art Thou? Part 1

Next up in this Detroit Urbex adventure that I took this past summer is the beautiful St. Agnes Church. We had been planning this trip to Detroit for what seemed like an eternity, with a list a mile long of buildings we wanted to see. Unfortunately there is only so much you can do in a day, and we really didn’t want to cross the boarder multiple times over the weekend, so needless to say a lot of buildings got the axe. St. Agnes Church luckily did not! This church is full of history, and was only abandoned recently, but has seen a very fast decline into a state of disarray.
St. Agnes Church was our first entry of the day, and as soon as we walked through the door, my mind was blown! This was litterally the first abandoned place I have ever entered in my life. I didn’t know what to expect, would there be other people there? Would there be anything dangerous or harmful? Who knows at that point, and I didn’t really want to do to much research before hand as I wanted it to be a surprise. Maybe that’s why my stomach was so upset in the morning?
St. Agnes Church is a Gothic era building that was completed in 1924 after the parish out grew the Paster’s own house, where they had been meeting since 1913. The Church remained in service until 1989, when the parish of St. Agnes and another church, St. Theresa, became small enough to merge. This left the building empty for a year until the Martyrs of Uganda Parish was established. That congregation lasted until 2006, when they ran into financial difficulties and could no longer operate out of the building. The property has a significantly sized school in the back that looked to be used for primary aged children, and focused primarily on religion. Unfortunately we only had about 30 minutes to spend in this building due to so many other things we had to see that day, so we did not get to enter the school, but if I ever make it back to Detroit it is going to be on my list! Stay tuned for part 2 of this series where I will share a few more pictures of St. Agnes.