From the Rector
The Holy Spirit's Brewing
The year was 1911. Among Calvary's Confirmation Class that year was young Margaret Windisch. Her confirmation marked the beginning of her family’s membership at Calvary Episcopal Church.
Margaret’s family had built the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company, one of the most successful of the over 30 breweries operating in Cincinnati at the time. Built just after the Civil War, the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Co., known colloquially as the Lion Brewery, sat on the site of the present-day Cincinnati Ballet building at 1555 Central Parkway.
In the Clifton neighborhood at the turn of the 20th century, there was talk from nearby churches of support for Prohibition. Since the Episcopal Church made no such stand, and the Windisch family made their move to membership at Calvary Episcopal Church. Margaret married Carl August von Goeben in the church on March 10, 1926.
Today, Margaret’s daughter, Hedda, is the longest-standing member of Calvary Episcopal Church. Hedda Windisch von Goeben, now in her 90s, resides in Granville, Ohio, but maintains her membership at Calvary.
In late August 2020, I arrived to the church to find most of the electricity in the education wing out. After a good deal of investigation, facilities manager Gary Garmon discovered a wire potruding from the vesting room staircase, burnt to a crisp. Lightning was the culprit. Repairs that took weeks of repair and well over $10,000 ensued, some covered by our insurance, some not.
Since the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Senior Warden Paul Davis has been concerned that the lightning protection at Calvary is inadequate. After the (contained) electrical fire, and some investigation and research, we discovered that our building is woefully underprotected from lightning strikes and electrical surges. While our organ has surge protection, it also has not been fully protected from potential damage.
In the 1990s, Hedda played a leading role along with parishioners like Sandy Martin in rebuilding and preserving our historic Skinner organ. When Hedda learned of the need for a lightning suppression system at Calvary this spring, she promptly and generously responded, covering the full cost of the project.
Hedda jokes that without beer, her family would never have known what is now an over 110-year legacy at Calvary Episcopal Church. Benjamin Franklin is said to have quipped, “Beer is a constant proof the God loves us and wants to see us happy.”
We are glad that Calvary provided a warm welcome for the Windisch family 110 years ago that has been constant to this day. We are grateful for her generous gift.
There will now be a diminished chance of future electrical fire to descend upon the church building. So let’s instead gladly continue to welcome the spark of the Holy Spirit upon the people of the church.
The Reverend Allison English