Saturday, January 30, 2016

St. James Lutheran Church - Portland, OR

St. James Lutheran Church is located in downtown Portland, Oregon northwest of the Hawthorne Bridge over the Willamette River. 
St. James Lutheran Church in Portland at the corner of Park Ave and Jefferson Street.
The congregation was founded in October of 1890. The Pioneer Chapel was built during the 1890s and the Sanctuary was finished between 1907 and 1910. 
The Sanctuary as viewed from an upper balcony.
The outside of the structure was originally brick, but then replaced by roughly textured Tenino sandstone. The tower was removed in 1951 because of structural problems and then it was replaced in 1974. An educational annex was added in 1956. It is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Sanctuary and Pioneer Chapel were put on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1975. 
The Park Ave view of the church.
The Jefferson Street view of the church.
The oak altar, pulpit and lecturn were installed in 1910 along with the painted organ pipes.

Stained glass windows of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ Blessing Little Children were made by the Povey brothers who ran a glass studio that supplied windows in churches and homes throughout the Pacific Northwest. 
Christ blessing children. Given to the church by the Luther League in 1907.
Christ's hair, and the childrens' hair, for that matter, is distinctively gray. It makes Christ appear much older. 
Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane is also distinctive because of Christ's hair, but this time because it is a blonde, unruly mop - more of a Lion's King mane. Christ appears much younger. This was also created in 1907.
The stained glass of Christ and the children complements the baptismal font which was the gift of the owner of a granite company, also  in 1907. It is made of carved marble and has "Suffer little children to come unto me" carved around the upper lip. 
The stained glass window over the front door represents the symbol of St. James. It was made by Bryce Anderson of Oregon in 1982. 
An inner view of the stained glass, interrupted on the inside by a staircase. The clam shell is a symbol of St. James and most of the other tie-ins to St. James elude me. 
The Journey of Faith, on the west wall, is an eight panel Honduran mahogany wood carving by Leroy Setziol, a Northwest carver, called the father of Oregon woodcarving. Here is a video segment of a visit to Setziol's Oregon home and studio. Setziol does not work from sketches, he just starts to chisel and goes where the wood allows him to go. His works are not sanded, he carves and then applies oils. Each panel is a story, event or person in the history of Christianity. 
A portion of the Setziol installation. 
The first panel is an obvious clam shell, the symbol of St. James. Below is a fish, a symbol of Christianity. 
The second panel. None of this symbolism jumps out at me.
The third panel. Setziol has a fascination with the crucifixion and there is an obvious cross here.
The crucifixion with two women at the base of the cross. The inside form of the women is a heart. 
The fifth panel. A native looking face to the left and two clerical looking faces to the right. 
The sixth panel. The right side seems like a nod to fertility with a child representing each breast and a womb full of children. 
The very cool seventh panel. I envision Abraham and Sarah.
The wonderful eighth panel. Setziol is known for his geometric shapes and this is full of them. A large dart board. 
The window on the north wall of the Chapel was donated by the Mission League in 1891. It is the oldest window at St. James. I looked briefly in the Chapel, but stayed primarily in the Sanctuary. 

The windows on the north and east walls of the Sanctuary were installed in the late 1940s. 
There are windows for each of the four evangelists. I only show Matthew.
A symbol for the nativity.
A symbol for the resurrection. It may be a stylized representation of the lotus flower. 
Grapes represent the blood of Christ, particularly in reference to the Eucharist as here with the cup. A grape vine is a reference to Christ. 
Wheat represents the harvest reaped from sowing the Gospel. When near grapes, as this one is, it is also a reference to the body of Christ in the Eucharist. 
The Lily of the Valley appears in early spring and symbolizes Christ's "advent," a Latin word meaning "coming," or the waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. 
This is known as the Agnus Dei, Latin for "Lamb of God." Christ as the lamb is on a book with seven seals which represent the final judgment. The banner is a symbol of victory, and with the cross, is a symbol of the resurrection and the triumph of Christ over sin and death. 
Song of Solomon 2:1 proclaims, "I am the rose of Sharon, The lily of the valleys."  Some Christians believe the rose is a reference to the church and some believe it is a reference to Christ and some believe the rose is Christ and the lily is the church. Sharon is found in Galilee between Mt. Tabor and Lake Tiberias and is a reference to lowliness. 
Psalms 150:3 says, "Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre." 
Another reference to Psalms 150:3.
Luther designed a seal with a red heart at the center with a black cross inside. The red heart represents love, joy and peace produced by faith. The cross reminds the believer of Christ's sacrifice for all people. The white rose which it is superimposed on is the color of angels and blessed spirts. The blue background represents the hope of heavenly joy. There is also a gold ring, not well visible here, which represent's heaven's eternal bliss.
Luther's Seal. The Easter lily around it is symbolic of Christ's resurrection as it blooms in spring from a lifeless bulb. 
We visited on a cold, rainy morning and were pleasantly greeted and allowed to go inside. A couple were inside cleaning and she mentioned to us that they were married in the church about 50 years before and have been attending ever since. Very nice.
One more random window with beautiful dark colors. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Food Carts in Portland - Poh Boy, Moroccan, Dumplings and Fried Fish

As we talked about our trip to Oregon, Judy told me several times that we needed to go to Portland so that I could eat from the food carts. It is really a big thing there. The food carts are organized in pods, about 49 currently, with each pod having anywhere from 3 to 60 carts.  At any one time, there are about 500 carts operating in Portland and the variety of food offered is astounding. Each cart focuses on a limited number of food items and my experience was that the wait, after ordering, could be as much as 15 minutes or so. The carts are all outside and the seating is very limited, if there is any at all.

We visited two pods, The first pod was the Mississippi Marketplace, located at 4233 N. Mississippi Ave, SW corner of N. Skidmore and N. Mississippi. I wanted to go there as I'd spotted a cart that sold poh boy sandwiches and I wanted to try another one after having my first one at the Deep End Cafe in Newport, Oregon. I thought the name of the pod had something to do with the kind of food and was disappointed to learn that the name of the pod reflected the name of the street. The pod contains nine carts and does have some outdoor tables with a canopy. However, it was so cold and windy when we visited that we ordered and headed to the car to eat.

I visited Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen which just happens to serve recipes of the cart owner's grandmother from Vicksburg, Mississippi. I surveyed the menu for the poh boy and quickly ordered the Bayou Fried Catfish Po'Boy which included fried catfish, sweet chili sauce, creole sauce, purple onion, arugula, and tomato on a toasted bun. The catfish did have a nice fried crunch on the outside and it was moist. The sweet chili sauce was quite sweet and the bun was moist, yet held-up. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but not to the same degree as my previous fried oyster poh boy. Oyster is just better than catfish and I preferred the all savory to the sweet savory. I also preferred the tartar sauce dressing to the sweet chili sauce. But I am now a fan of the poh boy and will order it given more opportunities.
Miss Kate's Southern Kitchen
Poh boy and cole slaw.
Judy had a queasy stomach and just wanted to order rice. So I didn't pay much attention to the cart she visited or what she got. 

The next day we visited the largest pod in Portland spread out over two blocks. The first block, referred to as SW 9th and Alder, covers the entire block between Alder and Washington from 9th to 10th Streets. It has about 50 carts which ring the outside of all four sides of the block. 
Food carts in downtown Portland.
Across the street is known as SW 10th and Alder with about 10 carts, that ring just a portion of two sides of the block. They are about six blocks northeast of the Portland Art Museum, a little bit further than that from Portland State University, and about 10 blocks northwest of the Willamette River.  We walked all six sides of the blocks before deciding what to order.

We are planning to visit Morocco in March, so La Camel, which served Moroccan food, was first choice.  
The owner, Karim Baziou, originally from Fez in Morocco, was very friendly, particularly when we mentioned we were going to visit Morocco. 
We were torn between the special, a salmon tagine, a kefta tajine which we'd read good things about, and the lamb shank. Karim said the lamb shank is the best thing on the menu so we ordered it. It was beautiful. The lamb was so moist it fell of the bone - no need to gnaw on that baby, which I regularly do to lamb shank. It was spiced very nicely, and came with couscous, warm garbanzo beans, red pepper and potatoes. 
Lamb shank
Lamb shank - so beautiful it needed pictures from two directions. 
Phenomenal. I was ready to order something else immediately and Judy suggested we try something else first. 
La Camel
Judy chose the Dump Truck on the next (smaller) block, a place she and Rachael ate last year (of course, they also ate at La Camel last year too!). It is owned by some people who lived and worked in Beijing, China and fell in love with Chinese dumplings (dump, of course, refers to dumplings). We ordered Le Super Sampler, two of each of the four flavor of dumplings. One dumpling was Mr. Ma's Special (named after the Chinese man that taught them to make dumplilngs), seasoned pork with green onion and ginger and served with soy/vinegar and sweet chili. Another was Down2Earth, a combination of portabella mushroom, rice noodles and cabbage with ginger and served with a spicy tahini. The Potato Curry dumpling is Malaysian-style, potato infused with yellow curry, leek, garlic and coconut served with coconut yogurt. The fourth was a Bacon Cheeseburger dumpling with secret sauce. Unfortunately, I did not really love any of them. They were unusual and the taste of each was quite a bit different, but not for me. 
Cute name.
Weird menu.
Okay food. The dumplings were all unique.
I decided to go back to La Camel and order the salmon tagine. Before getting there I took another hard look at The Frying Scotsman Fish and Chips, about two down from La Camel. What intrigued me is that it serves five kinds of fish with the chips: cod, haddock, halibut, red snapper and mahi-mahi. The owner, James, with quite a Scottish brogue, is from near Glasgow. I asked him which kind of fish was best. He thought for a minute, then suggested haddock. I was tempted, but ordered red snapper, as I have never seen red snapper served with fish and chips. I figured it would have a little stronger taste. 

Then I jumped over to La Camel, two carts down, and ordered the salmon tagine. 

The red snapper had a nice fried coating, but was still moist inside. I enjoyed it, but I do think the cod, haddock and halibut are probably better with fish and chips. The chips were what you would expect and he had good English malt vinegar and a nice tartar sauce for dipping. 
Red snapper fish with chips, liberally soaked in malt vinegar.
Hakim delivered the salmon tagine on a bed of saffron rice with red pepper, beans, onions, potatoes and preserved lemon. The salmon was still quite moist, although I like it a tad bit moister and had a nice flavor. It was good, but a level down from the lamb shank. From the blog, Food Carts in Portland, it was noted that La Camel's Moroccan Kefta Tajine was one of that blogger's "favorite dishes of the year." If I go back to Portland, La Camel will be on my list again, along with many other food carts that look amazing. 
Salmon tagine.
As Judy said, if I lived in Portland I would weigh 500 pounds. I could probably visit all of the pods in a year. My kind of food. I love being able to go cart to cart and try an item here or there. Great concept. Great food. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater - Vancouver, WA

In Vancouver, Washington, on the Washington side of the Columbia River opposite Portland, Oregon, we visited the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater. 
The block containing the church and administrative buildings.
The front entrance to the church itself. 
A side view.
A back view.
Steeple and distinctive red bricks. 
My first question was, what is a proto-cathedral, a term I'd never heard before? A proto-cathedral is the Catholic name for a building that was initially a cathedral, but no longer serves as one. In this case, St. James became the cathedral when the Diocese of Nesqually was established in 1850. The current church was built in 1885. In 1903 the seat of the diocese was moved to Seattle and in 1907 the name of the diocese was changed to the Diocese of Seattle. St. James Cathedral in Seattle is now the seat of the diocese. The diocese was elevated to an archdiocese in 1951 and is now known as the Archdiocese of Seattle.  
St. Mary holding a reproduction of the church in her hand. 
My next question was, who was St. James the Greater? In my Mormon background, that is not a term that is used. He was James, the brother of John, the son of Zebedee, an apostle of Jesus and what Mormons would style a member of the first presidency after the death of Jesus, with Peter as president. He witnessed the transfiguration and was the first apostle to be killed, executed by Herod Agrippa by a sword (Acts 12:1-2). In Christian art, he is often represented in the dress of a pilgrim, with a pilgrim's staff, pilgrim's hat, scallop shell, gourd, key, sword, astride a white horse and with the Cross of St. James. The pilgrim's staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims on the Way of St. James to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain where Catholics believe the remains of James are held. The stick usually has a hook so that something can be hung from it and often has a cross piece. The pilgrim's hat is a wide brim hat which helps keep off the sun and is also associated with pilgrims on the Way of St. James. It often has an upturned brim with a scallop shell to denote the pilgrim status. The scallop shell comes from legendary accounts that James rescued a knight covered in scallops, or that while his remains were being transported to Spain from Jerusalem, the horse of a knight fell into the water and emerged covered in shells. In the context of St. James, the scallop shell is shown with its outer surface showing. Pilgrims on the Way of St. James often wore a scallop shell symbol on their hat or clothes and carried a scallop shell which he or she could present and expect to be given as much food as could be picked up with one scoop. The grooves in the shell that meet at a single point represent the various routes pilgrims traveled to arrive at the single destination of Santiago de Compostela. The gourd is used by the pilgrim to carry water and is often hung from the hook on the staff. The sword is representative of how James died. The Cross of St. James is a cross with a pointed bottom end, as if to be driven into the ground, with the cross bar being either a fleurs-de-lys or a moline. Oh, and "the greater" appellation distinguishes this James from the apostle James "the less," also known as James the son of Alphaeus, and perhaps also from James, the brother of Jesus as well.
This statue of St. James shows him holding a pilgrim's staff with a scallop symbol toward the top. I was surprised there was not more James iconography.  On the church website I see another depiction of James on the backdrop behind the altar. In this depiction, he is also holding a staff with a scallop shell on it. 
As I read about the history of the church, another question became, what is an archdiocese? An archdiocese is a diocese with a very large Catholic population, usually in a large metropolitan area, kind of a super diocese. The bishop of an archdiocese is known as the archbishop. The archdiocese is also called a metropolitan see or the head of an ecclesiastical province, which includes the archdiocese itself and other suffragan dioceses (suffragan dioceses are dioceses in a province under the leadership of an archdiocese). In this case, the Archbishop of Seattle also serves as metropolitan bishop of the suffragan dioceses within the Ecclesiastical Province of Seattle, which includes the Dioceses of Spokane and Yakima. These dioceses cover the entire state of Washington.
View toward the front altar.
View toward the front entrance.
The cupola above the altar.
The Holy Spirit as a dove, one of the figures in the cupola.
St. Mary and the baby Jesus in front of the altar.
French Canadian employees of the Hudson's Bay Company petitioned the Catholic bishop in Quebec to send priests to the northwest in the 1830s.  Two priests, Francois Norbert Blanchet and Modeste Demers were sent to Fort Vancouver, in present-day Vancouver, Washington, in 1838 and they started holding masses in the fort. They had to share space with Protestants which was not ideal. In 1845, Blanchet obtained Hudson's Bay Company approval to build a church just outside the fort. That church was dedicated as St. James in 1846. In 1850, the Diocese of Nesqually was established with Augustin Blanchet as the first bishop and he chose St. James as the cathedral. Blanchet's successor, Egidiuis Junger decided to build a new cathedral in Vancouver, this existing church which was completed in 1885.

I was quite taken with St. James and I'm not sure why. I suppose part of it was that it was cold outside and it offered a nice warm shelter from the elements. As we went in the priest was busy shuffling around the sanctuary getting things ready for services. A number of worshipers came in and prayed silently in the pews, while another went to confession. I suppose another reason was that the decorations are very warm, from the standpoint of lots of bright colors. Lots of dark reds and blues. In particular, the Stations of the Cross were the most colorful of any I've seen, with a shining gold background, Jesus in a bright red robe and other figures in bold colors as well.
Station of the Cross 2.
Station of the Cross 6 - Jesus encounters Veronica.
Station of the Cross 11 - Jesus is nailed to the cross.
An anchor stained glass window evinces the seafaring nature of the early parishioners. 
Noah's Ark - an unusual stained glass window subject, but again showing the seafaring nature of the parishioners.
Stained glass with chandeliers in the foreground.
In addition, there were still holiday decorations up, pine boughs and other evidences of the Christmas season surrounding various statues.
Mary and Jesus in a pieta pose.
Joseph, the carpenter with a saw, along with Jesus and Mary.

It was fun to visit a church with a history reaching back to the early fur-trading days of the American northwest. Until our visit, I'd always associated Vancouver with Canada. I think I vaguely knew there was a Vancouver in Washington, but had no idea where it was.