All Saints' Church is blessed with a historic building at the corner 7th Avenue and 7th Street in Park Slope, a place of prayer and welcome for more than 100 years.
The historic church was built between 1891 and 1893, after the designs and under the supervision of Scottish-born architect John Welch (1825-1894). Welch had worked in Newark, NJ, and was enjoying critical acclaim for his work on the Church of St. Luke (1881-1891, today St. Luke & St. Matthew) on Clinton Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, in the time called “one of the grandest ecclesiastical buildings in the city”. Both were said then to be in the style of the Italian Romanesque Revival, though the connection may be difficult for us to see. The reputation of Saint Luke’s also depended on the role of the Tiffany workshops that were fashionable for their design in stained glass and decorative design. Although All Saints was not able to retain the firm for more than a few of its windows, it is clear that the selection of Welch to design their new building was certainly related to his success at St. Luke’s.
The design of the exteriors of both churches is clearly related in their structure and ornament. All Saints’ congregation, who were building a church of 650 places, rather than 1500 at St. Luke’s’, and with a much smaller piece of land, required something rather different in the way of a plan. Welch responded with an interior of a different type, abandoning the plan of the earlier interior and replacing it with a different configuration, one recalling overall the shape of an Early Christian Basilica, but with a much smaller sanctuary apse, one related to those of the Italian Renaissance architect, Donato Bramante (1444-1514) in Milan.
If Tiffany works at All Saints' are few in number, the church is blessed with much stained glass, most now more than a century old. Especially remarkable are the many widows with nearly life-sized images of saints, 21 in all, including the Four Evangelists who appear in the apse surrounding the Risen Christ. There is also ornamental glass of high quality, especially a fine rose window over the entry and ornamental glass in the clerestory in the nave of the church. Welch also provided much of the elaborate ornament in plaster that is all over the interior, from columns and capitols to patterns on the walls, this executed by the many fine plasterers in Brooklyn at the time and well preserved today.