Painted Churches of Texas (and Budapest and Prague)
In July of 2014, Andy and I took a little weekend jaunt to Schulenberg, Texas to visit the Painted Churches of Texas.
At the Schulenburg Chamber of Commerce, we paid $4 for a map of the area.
This small but worthwhile investment advised us of exactly which little Farm-to-Market road we should take, and how far to take it, and where to turn by the KJT Hall, in order to find the Ammansville church. We would have been completely lost without it.
From the outside, the Painted Churches are pretty. But, like Andy said when I first showed him the website: "Painted? They don't look painted."
The painting is on the inside!
German and Czechoslovakian settlers came into this area of Texas in the mid-1800's.
When I try to think about what it was like to uproot your whole life in 1846 and move from Bavaria to Central Texas, my mind just boggles.
I don't know how these people got through the day alive without air conditioning, much less built these incredible churches within 40 years of their arrival.
The Painted Churches are one of the hidden gems of Texas, and I have marveled over them ever since we first saw them.
So, imagine my delight when, two years later, we walked into Matthias Church in Budapest, and discovered that it, too, is a painted church, on a massive scale compared to what we have in Texas.
A few days after visiting Matthias Church, we visited the Spanish Synagogue in Prague, and it too is full of decorative painting: a Painted Synagogue.
I love the idea that immigrants to Texas brought their decorative traditions with them from Central Europe, making their new spiritual homes familiar, and well, home-like.
And there's something magical to me in carrying our appreciation for these decorative arts from Texas, back to Budapest, back to Prague.
There is always something in the act of travel that diminishes our disconnection, even if it's simply a shared appreciation across space and time for the beauty of sacred spaces.