Cragsmoor Stone Church
Church of the Holy Name -- October 24, 2010
Along the road to Sam’s Point -- a popular hiking destination in the Shawangunk Mountains in New York State -- in the hamlet of Cragsmoor is a turn with a sign that only says “Stone Church”. Most visitors will probably ignore that sign (I did once) what with Sam’s Point almost within sight after a two-hour drive from New York City, but following the sign leads to a small stone church built in 1895 on a piece of land 2,000 feet above sea level that has a commanding view of the Shawangunk Ridge. You might find the Gothic architecture beautiful and rustic that you’d want to get married -- all over again if need be -- just so you can hold your ceremony there.

At least those were my thoughts when I reached the site. And it turns out my thoughts weren’t far off. After reading about it later online, I found that the church bills itself as a wedding venue.

The Stone Church, or “The Church of the Holy Name”, is Episcopal. But one could be of any denomination -- Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish, Reformist, and Interfaith to name a few -- to hold a wedding there or attend its services. Its website says, “The Stone Church welcomes all seekers”, and upon entering “you will face a stained-glass window” where “symbols from eight of the world’s major religions, from Christianity and Islam to Buddhism and Native American faiths” can be found. It would seem that no effort is spared in finding commonality among faiths and in so doing welcoming all.

If you visit Sam’s Point, I recommend that you stop by the Stone Church. It may not be what you came there for -- hiking on a ridge -- but a small stone church by the edge of a cliff might earn your affection and complement the peace and serenity you were looking for when you thought about going up in the mountains in the first place.

You may visit the Stone Church's website here:

Click on a picture to enlarge.
The Church of the Holy Name.
Front facing east.
Front facing north.
Back facing south.
Stone arch.
Shawangunk Mountains seen from the stone arch.
The church's website says,
Back facing west.
House on the mountain.
A wooden post in front of the church has writings in Arabic and what I think is German. Later, the church e-mailed me saying it's actually a Peace Pole. Googling for
Closeup of the Peace Pole.
Church tower.
At 2,000 feet, you'll be looking down at the clouds.
This statue of Jesus gave me a jolt. It's about 4 feet tall and while I was looking for an angle to shoot the back of the church from the corner of my eye I saw what I thought was a little child appearing out of nowhere. The disproprotionately small head had it been a child was what for a brief flash shocked me out of my wits.
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