St. Thomas the Apostle Church

Ann Arbor, MI

Kirlin Luminaires Used In Project: LRR-07420

Kirlin Rep: Gasser Bush Associates

120 years ago, when Ann Arbor’s historic St. Thomas the Apostle Church was built, it boasted stunning murals that featured its namesake. However, as time passed, the murals faded and were eventually whitewashed and nearly forgotten.

Thankfully they were not forgotten entirely! Recently, the church clergy came together and hired seven artists who in six months brought the St. Thomas murals back to their original beauty. The center mural shows Christ ascending to heaven, while the side murals represent the life of St. Thomas.

To highlight the murals and the altar, the parish simultaneously upgraded its lighting to LED products from Kirlin. Along the sides of the nave, 7″ adjustables (LRR-07420) are placed throughout the gothic vaulted ceiling, illuminating scenes from the life of St. Thomas. The altar presented a challenge, however. Seeking a controlled, super narrow beam that would precisely light an altar over 60′ away, Gary Steffy Lighting Design came to Kirlin for a custom solution. The Kirlin engineering team leveraged our expertise in high-intensity, narrow-beam exam lighting from our Healthcare Division to develop a custom design with a 9″ aperture and angle-cut wheat cone. The result is the controlled, ethereal glow seen here.

“We’re hoping that it’ll bring back some hope into people’s hearts. It’ll bring healing. There has been so much loss and sorrow in so many ways, isolation,” Father William Ashbaugh, the Ann Arbor church’s priest said. “And what we’re hoping to show even through this terrible darkness that has really inflicted us all, that there is light, there is hope, there is joy present and beauty present. And hopefully, as they see the beauty inside, they know that the beauty is also inside them.”

Photo Credit: Mary McNulty