Teri Hartman has lived in Reading all her life, and she’s walked the city’s streets countless times.
And on those strolls, she would often pass by an old church or two. It’s hard not to do, with one seemingly on every block.
And while Hartman has admired many of those churches, sometimes stopping to admire their beautiful architecture, she always viewed them outside. That is, until Saturday.
Hartman was one of dozens of curious locals to take part in a historic city church tour. The self-guided tour allowed the public to stop in an check out 13 of the city’s historic houses of worship.
For Hartman, an artist, it was a chance to check out some truly special inspirational works of art.
“I came to see the stained glass,” she said. “I’m literally looking at this one right here and saying, ‘That’s the palette I use in all of my paintings.’”
Hartman said she was awed by what she found during the tour, noting that the stained glass, murals and architecture she got to see were magnificent.
Carol Miller felt much the same.
She said she had visited most of the churches on the tour before and was even a member of one of them — Trinity Lutheran Church. But she couldn’t pass up another chance to check them out.
“This is just so pretty,” she said, standing inside the sanctuary at Holy Cross United Methodist Church.
Miller said she particularly enjoys seeing the different stained glass windows at the churches, as well as their different, historic architecture.
And, she added, Saturday’s sunny and mild weather made for a perfect day for a walking tour around the city.
The church tour was part of the celebration of Reading’s 275th anniversary. The Rev. Mandy Miller, pastor at Holy Cross and one of the organizers of the event, said it only makes sense that churches would be included in that celebration.
“The city is celebrating its history, and part of the history of Reading is its churches,” she said. “They’ve been here a long as the city has.”
Miller said she was thrilled to be able to bring a wider audience into those historic churches, adding that a lot of people don’t typically get a chance to view their beauty.
“We’re open on Sundays, but maybe not the other days of the week,” she said.
While Miller was staked out at Holy Cross on Saturday, chatting with visitors and answering questions, she said she got to see the other churches during a pre-tour last week. She was blown away.
“I’m struck by the uniqueness — they are all different, which is amazing,” she said. “The diversity of the old churches mirrors the diversity of the city.”
The churches included on the tour were:
• Holy Cross United Methodist Church.
• Christ Episcopal Church.
• Trinity Lutheran Church.
• Friends Meeting House.
• St. John’s Lutheran Church.
• Charis Community Church.
• Christian Lighthouse Academy.
• First Unitarian Universalist Church.
• First Baptist Church.
• Iglesia Hispana Pentecostal.
• St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church.
• St. Cyril and Methodius Roman Catholic Church.
• Baer Chapel.
Source: Berkshire mont