Centennial Contemplations

Our building at 299 King Avenue is turning 100! Want to learn more about this building our church calls home? Check out this page for some weekly trivia questions and answers.

Q1 What will be 100 years old on October 8, 2022? 
A1 On October 8, 1922, our current church building was dedicated.

Q2 What date was our congregation formed?
A2: On May 30, 1889, the King Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church was officially organized with 30 members.   These 30 initial members came from a larger group of area residents who began meeting as a Sunday School in December of 1888 because they considered the Third Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church to be too far away. 

Q3: When was our lot on the corner of King and Neil purchased?
A3: Our lot was purchased in 1889 for $5,500.00.  The first church, “The Old Stone Chapel”, was dedicated on December 23, 1889 and faced King Avenue. 

Q4: How many church buildings have stood on this lot prior to our current building?
A5: On August 23, 1918, the second church building was destroyed within a couple of hours by a fire that started while the roof was being repaired. 

Q6: Where did the congregation meet during the time our current building was being planned and constructed, 1918-1922?
A6: Initially, several area churches donated space.  A temporary structure was built on Neil Avenue between Nineth and Tenth Avenues.  This temporary structure, “The Tabernacle”, could seat about 700 people and was dedicated on November 1, 1918. 

Q7: What three dates are on the cornerstone of our current building?
A7: The three dates on our current building’s cornerstone: 1888 (the year the Sunday School was organized among area residents), 1902, the year the second building’s construction began, and 1920, the year the construction of the current building began. 

Q8: What was the cost and seating capacity of each of the three church buildings built on this lot?
A8: It is estimated from board notes that the “First Stone Chapel cost $6,000, including the lot, seating capacity not more than 150. The second building, completed in 1904, cost $54,000 and had a seating capacity of 1,800. The third building, our current building, cost $400,000, could seat a total of 1,800 in the sanctuary area and the space in the basement could seat 1,500 or 600 for dinner.

Q9: Who does the North or Memorial Window in our current building (one recently refurbished and cleaned) memorialize?
A9: The North or Memorial Window is quoted in the 1922 dedication program for this building as being “… a gift of many parents in memory of the young men and women who served in the great war.”  From the King Ave. congregation, 170 served and three died during WWI.

Q10: What artistic or architectural style does the North Window reflect?
A10: Gothic Revival, a twentieth century interpretation of Medieval art and architecture.

Q11: What do the feminine appearing figures in the North Window represent?
A11: They represent angels, with the center two figures representing archangels Michael and Gabriel.

Q12: What words appear above the six figures in the North Window and what do they represent?
A12: The words are inspired by Ephesians 6:13-17 regarding the Armor of God.  The words were meant to describe a Christian who served his/her country in WWI. The six words are: Fidelity, Mercy, Victory, Peace, Piety and Service.

Q13: How many windows does the current church building contain?
A13: The church building has 121 stained glass windows throughout and 207 plain glass windows.

Q14: What does the large east window in the sanctuary represent?
A14: The story, Luke2:8-14, of an angel and a multitude of heavenly host announcing the birth of Jesus to shepherds living in the fields.

Q15: What are some Christian symbols in the east window?
A15: East window Christian symbols: Anchor & cross (hope), tablets of the Ten Commandments, Alpha and Omega (beginning and end), lamp and book (“Thy work is a lamp to my feet”) and Cross with radiance (faith). 

Q16: What do the four Chancel windows (behind the choir) represent?
A16: Part of the Apostles’ Creed: 1-Was crucified, 2- dead and buried, 3-the third day he rose from the dead; 4-He ascended into heaven.

Q17: What does the large wooden cross surrounded by four smaller crosses hanging high in the front of the sanctuary represent?
A17: The cross design comes from the Coat of Arms of Godfrey of Bouillon, the first ruler of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem after the Crusaders took it over from Muslim rule. It has been also called the “Five-Fold Cross” and has variously symbolized: the five wounds of Christ during his Crucifixion, Christ and the four evangelists and the spread of the Gospel to the four corners/directions of the world.

Q18: Why was the Jerusalem Cross chosen for King Ave. and where did it come from?
A18: Nancy Heber, Alyce Andrus and Ann Royer served on the 1986 committee charged with selecting a cross for the chancel area on the wall behind the choir. The committee chose the Jerusalem Cross because, for one thing, it architecturally tied in with the complimentary panels on either side of the blank central wall behind the choir. Secondly, and more importantly, they chose the Jerusalem Cross because the felt the large center cross represented CHRIST and the four smaller crosses represented King Avenue’s OUTREACH to missions (the UMW - called the Women’s Society, at that time) their goal was mission oriented; university students (King Ave. had a very strong relationship with OSU students - we even had a student minister); music ministry (for years King Ave. music has been a significant aspect - even to this day);  and community- not only the surrounding one, but King Ave. drew from the suburbs like Worthington and Upper Arlington, and other parts of the city. As the years have gone by, the meaning of the Jerusalem Cross has evolved into more than the original intent. It has come to represent that ALL are Welcome even to the four corners of the world. Tom Belcher, a member of King Avenue and an architect, designed and constructed the cross. The cross was a gift of the Robert Heber family and Clara J. Heber (Bob’s mother).

Q19: When was the “Swisher Memorial Chapel” and the Parlor, choir room above and three Sunday School rooms below/south side section added to the church building completed in 1922?
A19: The south side addition was started in 1957 and completed in 1959. The new and attractive chapel, “Dwight A. Swisher Memorial Chapel”, was dedicated on January 17, 1960. The builders of the 1922 building provided a foundation for this addition in anticipation of future growth. The lower level Sunday School rooms were part of the 1922 building.

Q20: How many stained glass windows are in Swisher Chapel?
A20: There are five stained glass windows in Swisher Chapel. The were designed by Russell Hizer and represent the five phases in the life of Christ, treated symbolically in t a 1950’s contemporary geometric design. 

Q21: From left to right, when facing the windows in Swisher Chapel, what does the first window depict?
A21: From left to right when facing the windows, the first window in Swisher Chapel represents the Nativity: There is a manger with a Chi Rho symbol, “the monogram of Christ” rising on the left. The Alpha and Omega is also used with the Chi Rho to signify that Jesus is the beginning and end of all things. On the right of the manger is a lily, the Fleur-de-lis – a symbol of the Annunciation and the Virgin Mary. There is a star in the upper left with light rays and three crowns symbolizing the Three Wise Men. The flight into Egypt is symbolized by the use of the pyramid with the wing above it and the sword represents the slaughter of the innocents by King Herod. 

Q22: Left to right facing the windows, what phase of Christ’s life does the second window in Swisher Chapel represent?
A23: Left to right facing the windows, the middle window in Swisher Chapel represents the Healing ministry of Christ: In green at the upper right, four “Tau” crosses or “Cross Potent” is symbolic of Christ’s power to heal diseases of body and soul: the convolution in the center represents mental, physical, spiritual confusion, unrest and/or turmoil which are subject to Christ’s healing power; the incense burner symbolizes prayer. 

Q24: Left to right facing the windows, what phase of Christ’s life does the fourth window in Swisher Chapel represent?
A24: Left to right facing the windows, the fourth window in Swisher Chapel represents Preaching. It emphasizes the Sermon on the Mount and the calling of the disciples as well as the call on us to be Christians. The XP (Chi Rho) symbol for Christ is set on a mountain top; the Maltese cross represents the Beatitude part of the Sermon on the Mount: the net and two shields represent the calling of Peter and Andrew as they were fishermen; St. Peter’s shield shows the inverted cross on which he was crucified and St Andrew’s shield shows the “Cross Saltere” which has been said to be the type of cross on which he died. 

Q25: Left to right, what does the last window in Swisher chapel represent in the life of Jesus?
A25: Left to right facing the windows in Swisher Chapel, the fifth or last window represents the Resurrection: The cross, the crown of thorns and three nails represent the crucifixion. The letters INRI on the scroll and scattered through the upper sections of the window are the beginning letters in the Latin phrase, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The pomegranate symbolizes the power of Christ to be alive on Easter Morning. It also represents the ripening or completion and fulfillment of earthly life. The butterfly is frequently used as a symbol of resurrection and expresses the idea of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The three stages of the butterfly (caterpillar, chrysalis and the adult) correspond to human life: Crawling larva= humans on earth, Cocoon – human in the grave and Adult butterfly = human being’s resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. 

Q26: Each of the five windows in Swisher Chapel have a small red panel, what does this symbolize?
A26: Former pastor, Clair Warden, is said to have related to Bob Heber that the small red panel that appears in each of the five windows represents the temptation that we all face. 

Q27: In what year was the King Avenue state of the art in 1922 kitchen renovated?
A27: The current kitchen was the first kitchen renovation and was completed in 2003. 

Q28: When was the front of the sanctuary redesigned to accommodate a new organ and rethink the chancel area? What was the thinking behind the chancel design?
A28: This renovation was part of the 2006-2009 Notes and Nails Capital Campaign. The "why" can be summed up in one word... INCLUSIVE. The chancel area needed to be suitable for the new organ, true. However, equally important was to make the chancel area HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE! For example, it was felt that access to the chancel to sing in the choir or to deliver a sermon or a witness, should be available to ALL, not just to those whose mobility was not compromised. Naturally, the elevated design of the chancel area eventually was advantageous to performing groups or Children’s Moments, but that was not the initial plan or rationale. King Avenue's mission is to welcome ALL and that includes those who have physical challenges. ALL means ALL. 

Q29: What United Methodist church did King Avenue UMC plant and help start?
A29: In late 2010, King Ave. UMC began a process of launching Stone Village UMC, currently located at 129 E. 2nd Ave. and still ministered to by its first pastor, John Wooden, former campus minister at King Ave. UMC. Stone Village became an independent UMC church in 2016. 

Q30: How many bells are contained within the bell tower of our current church building?

A30: The bell tower contains ten bells, the largest of which weighs over 2,000 lbs. All but one of the bells are stationary and are rung by pressing wooden levers that move metal clappers which in turn strike the bells. The largest bell is designed to also be rung by pulling a rope. 

Q31: When are the bells played?
A31: The bells are played each Sunday to commence worship and again at the close of worship. They also serve to complement weddings and to commemorate significant church, community or national events. Our current carillonneur is Jeff Wyckoff, who was asked to substitute in 1989, the same year Jeff first attended King Ave., by then music director, Dr. James Major. Jeff took over permanently from carillonneur Richard Welsh around 1991. 

Q32: What is your favorite memory/contemplation about our current church building, the centennial of which we are celebrating on Sunday, October 9, 2022?