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The Metropolitan United Methodist Church at 8000 Woodward Avenue

The current sanctuary was opened in 1926, done in English Gothic, with a facade made of pure granite. The original church had been destroyed by fire. In October 1916, land was purchased at Woodward and Chandler for $175,000 in cash, paid by Sebastian S. Kresge, of Kresge dime store and later K-Mart fame. Mr Kresge and his family were active members.

At one point in the 1930′s, this was the most attended Methodist church in the U.S.A.

This sculpture greets worshipers and vistors. A man battling demonic monsters. This bronze was done by Danish born artist Alfred Mygard, who was also a member of the congregation.

Dr. Merton S. Rice established the original church at this location. His gravestone in Woodlawn Cemetery has a relief of this sculpture carved into its surface.

Lets take a look inside this amazing building.

Here are a few shots of the sanctuary and its powerful stained glass windows. I did not arrive in time for the service, so I missed hearing the organ – the pipes can be seen on the left and right above the alter area.

Balcony

Look at some samples of the incredible glasswork

Taking a walk around the rest of the church building, we see some familiar tile work here in the floors. This looks exactly like the Pewabic work I saw in the Scovel Church on Grand River, but I can not locate Metro United Methodist in Pewabics church list of commissions. Perhaps this is due to several name changes over the years.

Heres a classic rendering of the church with its contemporary The Fisher Building in the background.

This is the stage in Kresge Hall, which was used initially for services while the sanctuary was completed, and then in later years it was utilized for overflow.

Look at the remarkable hand painted stencilwork on the wooden cross beams of the theater area in Kresge Hall. These considerations help soften the somewhat brittle Gothic details that prevail in the buildings structure.

Built in stages, this fireplace is from the earlier school section of the complex. This school now supports the church building, as the congregation is nowhere near its historic attendance peak.

Gorgeous stylized murals detail the history of Methodism.

The smaller and more modest chapel is used for low key marriages and baptisms.

More modest perhaps, but no less beautiful in its attention to detail.

A gorgeous place to worship or visit, and truly one of Detroits hidden treasures.

Special thanks to my friend Elaine for the tour.

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4 Responses to Metropolitan United Methodist

  • Thank you for your great photographs.There is a group of us who are working to revive Detroit’s spiritual soul so Metropolitan does not become a museum like many European Churches. Would you like to help out?

  • It’s breathtaking! Thanks for your wonderful work, Mr.Dfunk.

  • yeah, in the shadow of other greats on Woodward Piety, i dont think ive ever noticed this one, really. and i dont think its even featured in “Discovering Stained Glass in Detroit”….

  • Beutiful work as always Mr. Dfunk. It always amazes me how many hidden treasures we pass each day with little if any thought about what we are seeing.