Among the things a first-time visitor to St. Anthony's Catholic Church notices are the intricately designed stained glass windows.
Bob Walterscheid, a lifelong church member, is proud to see his family's name on one of the windows in the 104-year-old church. His grandfather, an original member of the church, was there when construction began in 1902.
Over the years, Walterscheid and fellow church members have worked tirelessly to keep the church in the beautiful condition it stands in today.
On Sunday, the latest renovation will be celebrated with a reception and dedication of the St. Clare Sunshine room in the lower level of the church.
The event will also showcase works by three local artists: Lynda Beck, a church member; Jennifer Walterscheid, daughter-in-law of Bob; and Raphael Robles, a Peruvian liturgical artist who specializes in the decorative painting techniques used in church and historical preservation jobs. All three worked on a 2005 renovation project at the church.
"You should have seen this room before the renovation," Bob Walterscheid says of the St. Clare Sunshine room. "It was very primitive and had sustained a large amount of water damage. The congregation is not going to believe their eyes when they see this on Sunday."
The room consists of new windows and conference tables, updated kitchen facilities, an adjoining bride's room and the original stone fireplace that is the focal point of the room.
The project is just one of several major face-lifts over the past several years, Walterscheid says, including to the sanctuary in 2005.
"Literally every square inch was repainted," he says. "We took the pews out and had those refinished to the original wood that had been covered up sometime in the 1940s."
The decorative painting and ornamentation was based on a photograph of the sanctuary taken in 1909. Differences today include Vietnamese imagery to reflect a large Vietnamese population that attends the church.
Originally catering to German immigrants at the turn of the century, the church now offers Mass in English, Latin and Vietnamese.
The art that will be on display during Sunday's reception is religious in nature.
Beck has created hand-painted icons on wood. Jennifer Walterscheid is a copper and enamel artist, but has also created intricate watercolors of the church windows. Robles will show his Old World-style paintings. All works will be for sale.
The St. Clare Sunshine room will be blessed at 1:05 p.m. There will also be church tours at 2 and 4.
"The overall beauty of the church reflects the parishioners," Walterscheid says. "It is a wonderful venue for adoration. We would love for the public to come and see all the wonderful things that have taken place here."
If you go>
st. anthony catholic church
What: Reception and dedication of new church renovation project, showcasing works by three Wichita artists.
Where: 258 N. Ohio
When: 1-5 p.m. Sun., with church tours at 2 and 4
How much: Admission is free. Refreshments will be served. The event is open to the public.