On my bicycle rides in Detroit, I see plenty of storefront churches. The places of worship vary in size. I’ve seen them setup in places with a span of about twelve feet wide and just as deep. Others are spread over a large space that at one time may have housed a grocery store, or some other good-sized business. Some are low-key and unassuming in appearance, while others shout out their presence in big bold letters on well-maintained buildings. On occasion, I spot one that truly catches my eye.
On Detroit’s northeast side is one of those peculiar places. There isn’t anything really special about the building or its design. It isn’t in a vintage Art Deco place or a former neighborhood bank that was built in the Neo-classic style of architecture popular in the early 1900s. It’s just a modest, one-story wooden structure that combines five individual storefronts into one long church. To me, that’s the beauty of it.
In taking a close look at the place, I noticed the overall color scheme of the building includes highlights that wrap around and above the windows, creating quasi-arches on the white background. I also noticed the windows have been converted to glass block, and they are grouped into four sets scattered across the front. Two of the four entry doors are gated, and a set of double doors on the far left look as if they haven’t been opened in years. They feature a couple of painted crosses. The paint color of the arches and window trim is remarkably close to the reddish color shingles.
In the center of the long building are three rough-looking crosses. They too are trimmed in the reddish paint. The craggy crosses are housed in former window openings that have been bricked in. They are also made of glass block and are a bit rough along the edges. I like how they don’t have a lot of uniformity in their design. I also like how the painted outlines to the left of the crosses have a much heavier line than the opposite side, creating an odd balance. Looking at them reminded me of a Southern country folk art painting; a painting Howard Finster may have created years ago.