One of the delights during my recent visit to Missouri was an afternoon tour of some of the country churches of the Diocese of Jefferson City.
This church in the tiny town of Frankenstein was a delight
Built in the Romanesque style, it is a delightful version of Romanesque scaled down for a small country community
Constructed from good, local materials in the 1920s the members of this rural community provided most of the labor to build their church.
The problem of the Eastern apse needing to be small because of the scaled down size is solved by a squared off chancel which extends from the main nave.
Inside the simple Romanesque is decorated with excellent wall painting. This method of decoration echoes ancient methods of church decoration, but is very affordable and stylish.
The flat ceiling echoes the basilicas of Rome and the whole effect is very simple and classically Catholic.
The beauty of the Romanesque style is that it is also suitably “modern” in other words it is austere in its simplicity, basic and functional. It can be decorated up or kept to an almost monastic simplicity and is therefore appropriate for modern tastes which tend toward the simple rather than the overly ornate Baroque or high Gothic.
If you’re ever in mid-Missouri get someone to drive you out there. It’s way out in the sticks, but it is beautiful rolling countryside and a beautiful drive.