In their golden celebration of Century 21 titled “The Future Remembered,” authors Paula Becker and Alan Stein give a touchstone history of the Christian Witness Pavilion (not to be confused with either the Christian Science Pavilion or the nearby Sermons From Science Pavilion.) “Two-thirds of the Christian Witness Pavilion was devoted to a children’s center, where children aged 3 to 7 got childcare mixed with evangelism. A 40-foot stained glass window [see here one the right] in the building’s facade was a major focal point, as was a 16-foot mosaic of 60,000 wooden blocks designed by Stanley Koth. [After the fair, Gethsemane Luther Church restored the blocks in their sanctuary’s narthex, while a Catholic church in St. Paul purchased the stain glass window.] The adult portion of the exhibit consisted of a small theater where visitors experienced a 10-minute sacred sound and light exhibition that employed a rocket launch countdown as metaphor for the journey through life.” By resembling, somewhat, one of the early satellites, the four-armed cross that topped the structure picked-up on the rocket metaphor. We learn as well from historylinkers Paula and Alan that 19 Protestant denominations and 14 Christian-centered agencies paid for this pavilion. The pavilion site is now part of the Center’s Children’s Garden but without the evangelism.
Perhaps the serendipitous promotion for the Christian Witness Pavilion was its best public relations. It’s hardwood substitute or variation on the Protestants favorite portrait of Jesus Christ, the one by the artist Solomon, arrived more than two months late. (Every Sunday-Schooler should remember it.)
The Solomon sub was lost twice by airlines but when it at last arrived in July it was met with rejoicing and press coverage at least in The Times.
One thought on “Fair and Festival – No. 20: Christian Witness Pavilion”
Considering that I was born in 1962, why do you think Salomon’s portrait of Christ is every Protestant’s favorite? I have a friend who says its Christ’s high school senior portrait. I can’t take the picture seriously. It does not look like the man described in Isaiah 53:2. He looks too European and Christ was a Semite. Besides, the oldest depictions usually show Christ with no beard, so this must be a Sinai monestary or Shroud of Turin idealization. I don’t worship a picture anyway.