Space Age Christianity: The Diocese of Olympia and the Seattle World's Fair Part 3
Now that the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church has drawn to a close it’s time to return to our series on Space Age Christianity and the Diocese of Olympia’s role in Century 21, the Seattle World’s Fair.
In Part 1 I talked about the diocesan sponsored program, “Space Age Christianity,” and in Part 2, I looked at parish participation in the fair. Today, in my final segment, I’d like to turn to the ecumenical program and exhibit, “Christian Witness in Century 21.”
The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia was one of 19 denominations and 14 Christian groups which developed and produced Christian Witness in Century 21 and built the Christian Witness Pavilion which was located across from the Space Needle and next to the U.S. Science Pavilion (now the Pacific Science Center). The pavilion housed a chapel, exhibition areas and a day-care center.
Dedicated to the children of the 21st century, the main role of the pavilion was to use imaginative displays to proclaim, ”Our Lord as Christ the Creator, Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Hope of the World;” to provide child care and relate the Christian Witness theme to children; to provide a chapel for worship and meditation; and to provide information on Seattle churches and Christian activities in the community.
The Olympia Churchman, January 1962
A fund raising campaign sought donations of “$2.00 or more” to offset the costs of the program and the pavilion and an on-going tally of contributions was reported in the diocesan newspaper.
Volunteers were also sought – particularly women – who were invited to volunteer for the following duties: Telephone aide; Guide or visitor’s aide for hospitality on the exposition grounds; Floral arrangements; Child Care Center volunteers – care givers, teachers and nurses; Speaking to groups, circles and guilds; and Volunteering for special mailings, mimeographing and office tasks.
Its striking appearance and central location made the Christian Witness Pavilion a popular venue at the fair and it should be noted that it was Episcopal Churchwoman, Mrs. B. Franklin Miller, who insisted that the pavilion be erected “in the center of things.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at the Seattle World’s Fair and diocesan participation in this pivotal event. Having access to the documents and other resources that I’ve relied on for this series of articles is just another reminder of how important Archives are to our understanding of the past and our hopes for the future.
Diocese of Olympia Archives
Diane Wells, CA
NOTE: The pavilion was demolished after the fair, but two of its major attractions still exist. A 16-foot wooden mosaic is now at Gethsemane Lutheran Church at 911 Stewart Street in Seattle. The giant 40-foot stained glass window was installed in Saint Leo's Catholic Church in St. Paul, MN.