Wednesday, December 26, 2007

German M.E. Church - Amory Street

January, 2008

* I've had a comment informing me that this church us still in use (5/2008)

Another straggler in the Jamaica Plain church division. This church is currently boarded up, an architectural shell with no life in it. There's something melancholy about a church with no congregation. The building opened with enthusiasm and promise, ready to serve for centuries. decades later, the congregation has dispersed, and the community is dead. How many years has it been that an ethnic German community existed in Boston? I have to wonder how much effect the two World Wars had on Jamaica Plain's German colony. Did the wars cause them to give up on their German identity, or was it just time and assimilation?

The article puts the church in Roxbury. Reasonable at the time, as the old Roxbury/West Roxbury line fell a block to the south, putting the building in Roxbury proper. Still, I have to wonder whether the people themselves considered the church to be in Roxbury or Jamaica Plain. I won't mistake a citation in the Globe to be the last word on the subject. In this area, the Globe bounces between Roxbury, Roxbury Highlands, Boston Highlands and Jamaica Plain, probably depending on the editor on duty at the time.

Boston Daily Globe January 15, 1900

Dedication At Roxbury. Interesting Services in the Handsome New German M.E. Church - $2000 Subscribed.

The handsome new German M.E. church, which for the past seven months has been under construction at the corner of Amory and Atherton sts, Roxbury, was dedicated yesterday. Appropriate services of an interesting nature were held in the morning, afternoon and evening. The morning and evening services were conducted in German and were principally for the members of the church, while the afternoon service was conducted in English and was given over largely to the neighbors and friends of the society.

The church was crowded to its utmost capacity at each service, and it was found necessary to throw open the vestry to accommodate those seeking admission.

The pulpit platform was adorned with potted palms and ferns and there were two large bouquets of roses on the reading desk.

At the morning and evening services the pastor, Rev J.G. Lutz, was assisted by Rev C. Jordan of Lawrence, Rev R. Glenk of Greenfield, Rev F.H. Rey of Brooklyn, NY, and Rev W.H. Kurth of Amsterdam, NY, a former pastor, Mr Rey spoke at the morning service and Rev W.H. Kurth delivered the sermon in the evening.

The English service opened at 3 p.m. with congregational singing, followed by prayer by Rev Ellis Mendell of Jamaica Plain. A selection was then given by the choir, which was followed by scriptural readings by Rev W.A. Lott.

Rev W.T. Perrin, the presiding elder of the parish, delivered a very forcible sermon, in which he congratulated the society on the accomplishment of their work. He said that while the church was a beautiful one, it did not compare with the temple of Solomon, but for all that it may be filled with the glory of God. Whenever and wherever the creature becomes conscious that God is present, the speaker continued, there is an awakening to humble worship, and the glory of the Lord fills the house wherever the sacrifices of the people are accepted.

"There is nothing that can take the place of this glory in the church," the speaker said. "We may build massive foundations, erect grand walls and decorate them in the most beautiful manner, put in the best organ that will flood its aisles with melody, but this will be as nothing unless the glory of God is manifested in the hearts of the people.

"I am glad to be here representing the English speaking people, and I feel we are interested in the work you are doing here."

Rev J.P. West followed with prayer, after which there was congregational singing and benediction.

The society begins its new work under very favorable conditions. There is a debt of more than $6000, but this was materially decreased by the subscriptions received at yesterday's meetings, amounting to more than $2000.

An architectural feature of the new edifice is the three memorial windows on the Amory st side. One is a triple window, and represents a cross and passion flower, in memory of F.W. Dinger, a former pastor of the church. The other two double windows are a gift from the family of one of the ones memorialized, the father of the present pastor, and represents a chalice and sheaf of wheat, to the memory of Rev F.G. Lutz, who was also a former pastor of the church, and his wife.


  1. I am sorry that you think this church is boarded up, with no life. In fact, the church is quite alive, with an active congregation. I live nearby and see people in and out regularly. It is mostly a Latino congreagation. I think that the costs of maintaining the building have probably been an issue, as happens often in churches. But the church is well used. Stop by any Sunday and see.

  2. I've never seen any sign of life when I've been buy the church. I'm glad to hear it's getting used as a church.