PROJECT RESTORE: All Saints Church, Stuart Iowa
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The Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance,
in conjunction with Project Restore

The Changing Face of Religion: Its Impact on Church Buildings, Neighborhoods and Communities

Statewide Conference
November 1, 1997
Stuart High School Gymnasium, Stuart, Iowa
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

What is happening to Iowa's churches?

Historic churches are being closed at an alarming rate in Iowa and around the nation. Many have already been demolished. There was a time when you could round a curve on an Iowa highway and see the welcome sight of a peaceful small town with a towering steeple. Now, Iowa is at a crossroads -- soon, there may be a day when no great steeples will greet travelers or parishioners, the steeples and the churches having been replaced by modern structures, often outside the city limits.

What is shaping the architecture and changing the face of Iowa's religious heritage?

What will happen to our historic church buildings, including churches, schools, rectories and parsonages as churches consolidate and rural populations decline?

What happens when a church leaves the inner city to build new outside the city limits or in the suburbs?

What can we do to save abandoned historic churches?

Finally, Iowans have the opportunity to ask these questions and more, while exploring answers during this very important conference. Experts in the field of religious and historic architecture, worship, city planning and sociology will explore the forces of change and discuss some solutions in dealing with unused church property and the impact on our communities and heritage.

Stuart was chosen to be the site of the conference because it is also the site of All Saints Catholic church, a Byzantine structure damaged in an arsonist's fire in 1995 and still standing in the heart of the community - no longer to be the parish's home for worship. The changing face of religion has had an impact on the future of the landmark building. It stands as an omen of change and perhaps a beacon of guidance for the future of Iowa's historic religious buildings and Iowa's cultural heritage.

The Changing Face of Religion: Its Impact on Church Buildings, Neighborhoods and Communities
November 1, 1997
Stuart High School Gymnasium, Stuart, Iowa

9:00 - 10:00 am
Continental Breakfast and Registration
Tours past All Saints Byzantine Catholic Church

10:00 - 10:45 am
Opening Prayer
Welcome: Honorable Dave Fry, Mayor of Stuart
Keynote Address "America's Magnificent Mosaic: Historic Places of Worship," - Dr. Marilyn Chiat, Director of The Center for Documentation and Preservation of Places of Worship

10:45 - 11:00 am
Morning Break

11:00 - 11:55 am
Religious Viewpoints and Panel Discussion
  • Pastor Chris Olkiewicz, St. John's Lutheran Church, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Fr. George Pallas, St. George's Greek Orthodox Church, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Sister Rita Mary Harwood, S.N.D., Secretariat for Parish Life and Development, Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio
  • Rev. Morris Hurd, Kellogg and Pleasant View United Methodist Church, Kellogg, Iowa

12:00 - 1:15 pm
Lunch Session: Roundtable Discussions

1:15 - 3:15 pm
Secular Viewpoints and Panel Discussion
  • Dr. Marilyn Chiat, Keynote Speaker
  • Jim Schwab, AICP, Senior Research Associate, American Planning Association
  • Ralph Christian, Consulting Architectural Historian, Community Programs Bureau, State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Dr. Patricia Eckhardt, Eckhardt Research

3:15 - 3:30 pm
Afternoon Break

3:30 - 4:00 pm
Closing Session: Moderator overview, group discussion, assessment of conference and future action plan.

About the speakers:

  • Dr. Marilyn Chiat is director of The Center for the Documentation and Preservation of Places of Worship, an affiliate of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Inc., and author of America's Religious Architecture: Sacred Places for Every Community. Dr. Chiat is an expert in religious art and architecture and has written and lectured extensively on the subject. Her other books include, Handbook of Synagogue Architecture, The Medieval Mediterranean-Cross-Cultural Contacts and We Rolled up Our Sleeves: A History of the United Jewish Fund and Council. Dr. Chiat received her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in 1979. Prior to her current position, Dr. Chiat was director of The Project to Document Jewish Settlers in Minnesota. She also served as Adjunct Faculty Appointment for the Dept. of Near Eastern and Classical Studies at the University of Minnesota.

  • Jim Schwab, AICP, is a senior research associate with the American Planning Association in Chicago and editor of Zoning News, a monthly Research Department newsletter. Mr. Schwab has a BA in political science from Cleveland State University and MAs in journalism and urban and regional planning from the University of Iowa. He has written numerous articles for a variety of national periodicals and is currently the president of the Society of Midland Authors. Mr. Schwab's research activities focus on a wide variety of planning topics, including recovery from natural disasters, sustainable development, agricultural preservation and zoning issues. In addition, in his spare time, Mr. Schwab serves as the chairman of the Environmental Concerns Working Group of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Metropolitan Chicago Synod.

  • Ralph J. Christian is a consulting architectural historian for the Community Programs Bureau with the State Historical Society of Iowa. In this important position, Ralph participates in comprehensive planning for the state's significant architectural resources. He also supervises and conducts architectural surveys and evaluates properties for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, as well as other incentive and funding programs. Prior to his current position, Mr. Christian was a historian with the Historic Landmarks Project for the American Association for State and Local History in Nashville. Ralph has had extensive teaching experience and received his MA in history from Wake Forest University and was a Ph D. candidate in American History at Vanderbilt University.

  • Dr. Patricia Eckhardt is an architectural historian from Iowa City. She has graduate degrees in Art History and Arts Management from the University of Iowa. Dr. Eckhardt's consulting firm, Eckhardt Research, has undertaken many architectural and historical surveys, National Register nominations and other projects. Her National Register nomination for SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in rural Solon, Iowa drew her into the complex problems surrounding the preservation of important ecclesiastical architecture. To accompany the SS Peter and Paul nomination, Dr. Eckhardt wrote an historic context for Catholic churches in Eastern Iowa which traces their architectural roots to 19th century Germany. As president and board member of Friends of Historic Preservation in Iowa City, she worked for the development of the Iowa City Preservation Plan and helped to create and present many public educational programs.

  • Reverend George Pallas is a priest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Des Moines' Drake neighborhood. Rev. George has the distinction of Spiritual Father Confessor, Steward and Protopresbyter. He previously served as a member of the Mixed Council of Our Holy Archdiocese, the highest elected office for a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Church. Reverend George was born in a Greek village and ordained in Greece. His religious vocation called him to the Republic of Panama, then Dubuque, Iowa and later to Des Moines.

  • Reverend Christopher D. Olkiewicz is associate pastor at St. John's Lutheran Church, located downtown Des Moines since 1865. St. John's devoted congregation is in the process of refurbishing their Neo-Gothic church, a project which reflects the congregation's firm intention to remain located in the center of the city, even though nationally many churches in similar settings are opting for suburban relocation. Rev. Olkiewicz has a keen interest in church art and architecture and believes in the importance of sacred spaces to our society. He received the M.Div. degree from Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul MN.

  • Reverend Morris Hurd is Pastor of the Kellogg and Pleasant View United Methodist Churches, Kellogg Iowa. Prior to his current position, Rev. Hurd was with the Red Oak Circuit United Methodist Churches (three churches). Rev. Hurd received his MA in counseling and M.Div. from the North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He also has a Juris Doctor in law from Northwestern University. Rev. Hurd's experience as a rural minister and preservationist will provide an important perspective.

  • Sister Rita Mary Harwood, S.N.D. heads the Secretariat for Parish Life and Development for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio. A significant portion of her responsibilities are in service to the parishes and all the lay organizations and ethnic ministries of the diocese. Since 1994, Sister Rita Mary has facilitated the planning and implementation of The Church in the City initiative, a pastoral statement issued by Bishop Pilla of the Cleveland Diocese to call attention to the impact of urban sprawl and the outmigration of peoples on the future of the Catholic Community of his diocese. As spokesperson for this initiative, Sister has addressed groups locally, nationally and internationally. Sister received her MA in education and education administration from the Jesuit institution, John Carroll University.

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    Please complete the attached reservation form and return it as soon as possible to ensure your spot in this interactive and important conference.

    Postmarked Before October 21:
    Full Registration: $25
    Limited Registration: $15 (meals not included)

    Postmarked After October 21:
    Full Registration: $30

    Payment must accompany registration form. All at-the-door registrations will be considered limited registrations.

    City______________________ State_____ Zip______________
    Phone_____________________ Fax ______________________

    __ Special diet concern ______________________________

    Please list names and addresses of others you may be registering:

    __ Enclosed is my check made out to "Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance" for $____________ .

    Type of registration(s) _______________ Quantity ________________

    Return this form with payment to:
    IHPA/Project Restore, Box 488, Stuart IA 50250.

    Any questions? Call 515-830-1493 and leave your name, phone number and a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.

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    Directions to Conference:
    The Conference will be held at the Stuart High School Gymnasium. Take exit 93 off I-80 (35 miles west of Des Moines). Exit onto Division Street and go north one mile to N 3rd St. Turn east on N 3rd. The school is two blocks east of Division St. Parking is available in the lot on the west side of the school as well as around and behind the school. Enter the school through the northwest entrance.

    Area Lodging:
    New Edgetowner Motel, Stuart, Iowa - 515-523-1122
    Super 8 Motel, Stuart, Iowa - 515-523-2888

    If you have any questions or need more registration forms, call 515-830-1493 and leave your name, phone number and a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

    This project was partially supported through funding from the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Act through a Historical Resource Development Program (HRDP) Grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa.

    PROJECT RESTORE: All Saints Church, Stuart Iowa
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