Marquette Wire

Calvary Church hosts labyrinth as part of Doors Open Milwaukee

The+inside+of+the+Calvary+Church+during+Open+Doors+Milwaukee.+
The inside of the Calvary Church during Open Doors Milwaukee.

The inside of the Calvary Church during Open Doors Milwaukee.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

The inside of the Calvary Church during Open Doors Milwaukee.

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Calvary Church, known by the community as the red church next to Straz Tower, participated in Doors Open Milwaukee Sept. 22, an event that allows people to visit historical Milwaukee landmarks.

The church introduced people to meditating by walking a labyrinth, a maze intended to let people focus their thoughts and emotions with reflection. 

“It represents the many twists and turns people take in their Christian journey,” David Peters, a member of the church, said. 

People from all around Milwaukee participated in the labyrinth.

“I drive down Wisconsin Avenue every day on the way to work, and the red building is pretty iconic visually, so I wanted to see what the inside was like,” Alyssa Neff, a Milwaukee resident said. “I like the stained glass windows and the aesthetics are really pleasing visually.”

Calvary Church was built in 1869 by one of the premier architects in Milwaukee, Peters said. 

Peters said Calvary Church has gone through two major renovations since opening.

“One was caused by a fire in 1947, which turned out to be arson set by the minister. Another one was in 1998, where we removed the pews and put in a labyrinth and made the sanctuary a very flexible place for concerts and receptions,” Peters said.

Congregation has been continuous, and it has always been a Presbyterian church, Peters said. 

Ashanti Cook, an elder of the church, said in 2016 that Calvary participated in a study called Holy Cow, a survey done on congregations all around the country.

“It came back to show that although we are a small congregation, of all the congregations that were surveyed, we were both the most diverse and a congregation that had one of the higher levels of satisfaction with the way things were at the time,” Cook said.

Out of the 1,400 congregations surveyed, Calvary Church was the one with higher education with younger congregations.

“Our congregation comes from all over the Metro area, from Fox Point to Racine,” Peters said.

Currently, Calvary church is working with St. Anthony’s Project, a project that provides housing for homeless residents to allow them to transition into new housing.

Cook said Calvary has been trying to do outreach to Marquette University students, such as a welcome event for Straz residents and collaboration with Marquette’s liturgical choir.

“We don’t have a lot of Marquette students that come, either for Doors Open or our services, but we wouldn’t mind having more,” Cook said.

“We are working to innovate in many ways, so we are useful to the Milwaukee area, as we open our doors for labyrinth, for weddings, in that we have instituted a yoga night,” Cook said. “We are looking to do a number of new things. Marquette students are welcome here.”

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