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Quincy, Illinois Anglican Cathedrals

#Quincy, Illinois, just north of Hannibal on the Mississippi is northwest of Saint Louis, although I thought I needed to just head north along the river. Garmin directed me to Interstate 64 West, and then Highway 61 north. My itinerary said 135 miles and two and a half hours. My notes observe that the drivers are jerks – they seem more intent on driving to position themselves to send you off the road at a lane merge, speeding up for every opportunity. It happened enough to cause me to believe it’s a consistency.

The landscape was mainly farmlands, with many fields still filled with cornstalks with ears on them, a white gold color glowing off in the sun behind me. Relatively flat, the car got good gas mileage, and chugged along. When I got to my first address, I found I’d plugged in the wrong street name, so had to reprogram the Garmin to bring me to downtown. There I’d be visiting the first St John’s Cathedral.

Okay, an explanation. Wikipedia listed an Anglican cathedral to St John in Quincy. I emailed the office to determine if the building would be open Friday afternoon. A custodian was due in at 2:30 and would expect me. So then I plugged the church name into Google Maps, and two Cathedrals of St John (the Apostle) in Quincy were offered. Both Anglican! So I agenda’d in both.

St John's ACNA Cathedral, Quincy, IL

The ACNA (Anglican Church of North America) cathedral is downtown on Hampshire. It sits on a corner, with a square bell tower over a red wooden double door. I didn’t find access into the church from the Hampshire side, but walking around I found an open door by the kitchen adjoining the church hall. Initially I found no one, but as I approached the sanctuary, an enthusiastic younger man welcomed me, brought me into the nave, and explained a bit about the church.

Detail of the reredos, St John's Cathedral, Quincy, IL

A lovely white-stoned structure, it had been renovated following some destruction following a 2002 lightning strike. A former 1852 Episcopal church/cathedral (first bishop 1878), it now has an Anglican congregation. The renovation moved the organ behind the main altar, with the reredos moved to the side wall. There are two Tiffany Studio windows, the Annunciation (standard light) and Resurrection (round). The simple wooden cathedra is tucked into a corner under the Resurrection window, with the crozier kept alongside.

Obviously clever parishioners, an old altar was relocated into a social room, raised and topped with a countertop, and now acts as a bar for the weekly Wednesday men’s group to drink their own brewed craft beer. Dubbed the Bishop’s Chair, the old cathedra, burned in the lightening fire, holds a place of honor. I suspect all would feel welcome by this church.

Returning to the Kia, I plugged in the address for the other St. John’s, which I knew would be out on the edge of town from looking it up in Google. Rather than directing me through commercial parts of town, I lucked out and headed south, and then east on Maine Street through residential neighborhoods. Initially, the large multistoried houses on large lots reminded me of the “West End” homes I knew in Princeton, NJ where I’d gone to high school. As I continued east, the houses became smaller and closer together, but still presented a wholesome, middle class air.

The St John’s Cathedral of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is well out of town on Payson, looks rather new, but sits back from the road on a large parcel. Built of a reddish-gray smooth stone, the tower over the red entry doors is opened to view. A smaller building, several side buildings are further away from the road. William, the custodian, was cleaning in the front vestibule as I entered, and indicated he was expecting me. After advising him I probably didn’t need too much guidance, he went about his tasks.

St John's TAC Cathedral, Quincy, Illinois

With white painted walls and a wooden beamed ceiling, the altar is set back from the nave in a chancel fronted by a clean pointed arch. Organ pipes are mounted on either side of this arch. Wooden pews fill the nave. A small loft sits in the rear over the entrance and vestibule. The cathedra is a wide (but not deep) carved wooden chair, with the crozier held by mounts in its side. A clear-glass window facing north to the street views a tree backlit by the sky, a perfect option to a stained-glass filler.

Off the vestibule is a small chapel with a narrow altar and a dozen seats, where the columbarium rests against the back wall. The cornerstone indicates the church was established in 1837 (as was the downtown church) and this building was consecrated in 1998. One of my research tasks now is to delve into these different Anglican sects, and learn how they differentiate themselves, as well as how they function within the worldwide Anglican Communion (Canterbury) and the US Episcopal Church.

Backtracking about a block on Payson, I turned north onto 36th Street towards more commercial options, where, after crossing Maine Street, I pulled into my night’s lodgings, the Quincy Inn and Suites. I checked in about 4:30, sat in the room and did some Internet until my stomach started growling. Driving, I did a big loop back to State St and up 18th St before coming back on Broadway, which seemed to be the major commercial drag. I stopped in at Mi Jalapeno, as it looked somewhat busy, and was seated promptly, and got a very large Dos Equis. I didn’t find carnitas on the menu, but they had it and I got a California burrito which came “wet” with a white cheese sauce. The pork was well cooked, flavorful, with lots of guacamole and not much rice or beans. I punched up the salsa that came with a basket of chips by adding Tapitio sauce, and poured it on the burrito. A satisfactory meal. Back to the room, I used the WiFi and did some reading before going to sleep about 9:30.

Google album of photos of the cathedrals in Quincy, Illinois is here.

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