PLACES OF FELLOWSHIP
Gathering Places in Thurston Woods
Prior to its closing in 1992, St. Albert Parish and School was an integral part of the Thurston Woods community, a nurturing environment that focused on the community and promoted togetherness. It was a public space where the community came together to share what they had in common. After its closing, the neighborhood environment changed. Over the course of ten years, many residents of Thurston Woods chose to relocate.
The loss of the church is still very much present within the community. Today, St. Albert Parish and School is the Thurston Woods Campus Elementary School. The face of the gathering place is no longer one based on religion, but it retains its role as a site of fellowship. Although no longer a church, the new building is still a location where the community can gather and share experiences.
Many Thurston Woods residents have been forced to look outside of the area for places of worship. Some walk, some drive, and others take public transportation in order to reach their destinations. Churches that
were once rooted firmly in Thurston Woods have now moved farther away creating a more dispersed and
regional network of parishes.
“St. Albert’s Church had a very big draw in the neighborhood. A lot of kids went to school there... The families went
to church there. When the church closed, you could just see a definite change in the neighborhood. People just
started moving out.”
– Lorie Koehler
“For 14 years … we went to Sherman and Douglas where we could walk if the car wasn’t working. Now we go to
Eastbrook Church. Another reason for those particular churches is it’s in the area. It’s a feasible amount of distance,
it’s not something that use a lot of gas, takes a lot of time to get to.”
– Patricia Weber
“I went to church at Holy Redeemer because St. Albert’s disbanded. We were the first Catholic church in the city to
start consolidating, so it was St. Nicholas and Holy Redeemer and then we turned into Blessed Trinity. They just now
sold it. Now we have to go to St. Catherine’s on 51st and Center.”
– Jean Devlin
“I had my kids baptized, first communions, confirmations. My oldest son got married there. This was the front of it.
Upstairs is where the school was, the downstairs was the church, and then in the basement they had an auditorium.
That’s where the parties and different functions would be.”
– Jean Devlin