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Congregation Shaarey Zadek, Detroit, MI

May 7, 2017

You might be surprised to learn that enthusiasm for the Akron Plan, the educational component of the A-A phenomenon, was shared with groups far beyond orthodox Methodism and the other mainline religious denominations. The beginnings of Christian Science, for example, almost exactly coincide with creation of the Akron Plan. And, although their theologies are worlds apart, at least a few Christian Science buildings adopted the Akron Plan. Some Jews also embraced the efficiencies of Akron-style religious education, particularly Reform Judaism, which arrived from Germany in the years following our Civil War. Clearly I need to learn more about this.

I mention this in the context of Detroit architect William E.N. Hunter, who created a signature style for Methodists and Congregationalists in his region. This Hunter design for Congregation Shaarey Zadek (formerly at Willis and Rush) just came to my attention. The left hand element might be an Akron Plan Sunday school:

By 1940, the congregation had suburbanized and the Willis Street building was sold to Ebeneezer A.M.E. church, who occupied the building until a fire of 1960.

MIdetroitShaareyZadekAME.jpg

You might also be interested in seeing their newer building in suburban Southfield, MI. This is a conservative congregation and architect Percival Goodman designed it in 1962:

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