Church of the Week: Annunciation Church, Milwaukee, WI

Though I have previously featured the spectacular Greek Orthodox Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the "Church of the Week" feature on this blog (see here), I did so before I had personally visited and worshiped in the church. So today I'm happy to mention the church again, after the lovely Robin and I (and our daughter and two grandchildren) visited on Sunday, July 14. 

We made the trip to visit with our nephew David (above) and his family in advance of their departure from Milwaukee for warmer climes and new responsibilities (in two weeks they leave for southern California, where David will serve the Orthodox community at Camp Pendleton, near San Diego, as a chaplain).

The church is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's distinctive creations. As a visitor approaches, the facility (above) resembles a spaceship sitting in a sizeable lawn. 

After the Sunday morning service (in which David, who has been an associate at the church for two years, gave the sermon, which of course we were delighted and proud to hear), we were treated to a tour. David pointed out that the design motif seen in the carving below the icon (above) is the primary motif of the whole structure; there is nary a straight line in the entire place (not even in the restrooms). 

He also pointed out that the prayer candles which on our entrance illuminated the entryway can be dropped all the way to a destination in the lower level, under the church, from a center opening in the table--an example of Wright's attention to detail and function. 

The sanctuary is round, with curved pews and a curving furnishings all around, making it one of the most unique and delightful settings for worship I've ever seen. 

The pews beautifully echo the motif, turning a usually routine feature of church furnishings into a work of art. 

David took some time to explain the icons in the tabernacle, the area behind the iconostasis (the screen), as well as various other features of the structure. His obvious interest and delight in the history and theology was delightful in turn to us. Our only regret was that we couldn't have had the tour before the service; it would have enhanced much of the experience (but, alas, those Greek Orthodox folks start at 9 a.m., and we were doing well to get there as early as that, having commuted an hour from our overnight accommodations in Kenosha). Nonetheless, it was a rewarding visit, after which we spent a few hours over lunch and conversation with David, Nora, and their four boys, before heading out on the long drive home, glad to have made the trip and to have been welcomed so warmly and treated so well by everyone we met. 

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