Hittin’ The Town: Getting crafty at a downtown Toledo church

St. Paul’s Lutheran hosts everything from art and food tours to DIY classes.
Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 5:12 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - This is the time of year when a lot of you like to get crafty. A church might not be the first place you think of when it comes to making things, but the leaders of a downtown Toledo church are thinking outside the box when it comes to activities and offering up a whole lot of wholesome fun for the whole family.

St. Paul’s Lutheran first opened its doors more than a century ago. In the years since a lot has changed at the church. In addition to coming to church services here, this is also a great place to get creative.

Kate Philabaum is the Director of the HeART Gallery at St. Paul’s Lutheran. She describes the church as a traditional congregation with a non-traditional outreach.

“We view the alternative ministries as a way of gathering and belonging in a community of fellowship that is accepting and kind. That is very important in these times,” Philabaum said.

For starters, HeARt Gallery, spotlights emerging artists. “We do monthly exhibits with a Lunch and Learn event. Often the artist will speak about the featured topic in the artwork. They are well-attended. We try to do a variety of exhibits some sacred, some inspirational, and others just for fun,” she said.

There’s also a program that includes putting down the hymnals and picking up hammers.

“We call it Dinner DIY. You can come in and have a bowl of soup, make a project with us or bring your own. Maybe you need space to work or power tolls. This is a good place to come,” Philabaum said.

You’ll find a wide range of projects through Dinner DIY that takes an hour or so to finish involving everything from pumpkins to old suitcases. The focus is on re-purposing things. “Most of the materials we use are recycled. We use pallets, recycled wood, and Styrofoam because we don’t want it to go to a landfill.”

If making things isn’t for you, there are events here where you can enjoy others’ handiwork.

“We also have an incredible nativity event that runs from Thanksgiving through December 18th with about 50 decorated trees and 300 creches,” Philabaum said.

All the programs and activities make it easy to disconnect from technology.

“Putting down your cell phone is important here because we’re about conversation and stories,” Philabaum said.

The scenery at the church makes that easy to do. From the sanctuary to special rooms, the church is full of beautiful craftsmanship. One of the most popular events here pays homage to the early use of this room.

“The room we’re filming in now was called the ladies parlor where they had teas once a month. They sat at long tables in hats and gloves and beautiful dresses. They used silver tea service. We honor that tradition by having teas here four times a year,” Philabaum said.

Each of these programs has brought fun and fellowship to attendees.

“People have connected in ways we didn’t expect. I think a gathering space where people feel safe and accepted is important we are open to a wide range of people and ages,” Philabaum said.

There is a long list of activities and events at St. Paul’s Lutheran. This month includes a Wizard of Oz sing-a-long and Adams Street art and food tours.

The church also runs a free lunch program and a thrift store year-round.

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